(Editor's note: this article will be updated with highlights)
THOMPSON FALLS— The Thompson Falls football team hadn't played a close game all season, and they weren't about to let it happen in the state championship.
The Blue Hawks scored early and often to trounce reigning state champion Drummond-Philipsburg by a final score of 40-8 in the 8-Man state championship on Saturday.
Hard work pays off. It comes down to that. I’ve spent so much time on film and everything, and so have these players. It’s just great. I can’t fathom it right now, but it’s been awesome," Thompson Falls head coach Jason Koskela said.
The win gave Thompson Falls its first state championship since 1975, when it played as an 11-Man program. The Blue Hawks, who still compete as a Class B school in other sports, are the first Class B school to win the 8-Man title. Thompson Falls and Drummond-Philipsburg were the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds out of the 8-Man West, but since they didn't play each other in the regular season, they each came into the game undefeated.
In the first half, Ryan Bucher found the end zone twice for Thompson Falls, but Drummond-Philipsburg punched back with a Chase Goldade 5-yard touchdown run just before halftime to make it 14-8 Blue Hawks at the break.
But Goldade's score would be all the Titans could muster.
Bucher scored another touchdown in the third and Elijah Ratliff added a short touchdown run to make it 26-8 Blue Hawks by the end of the third. Hayden Hanks added a rushing touchdown and a Nathan Schraeder tallied a fumble return for a touchdown put the cherry on top for the Blue Hawks in the fourth.
"Those guys are workhorses, (Thilmony) and Bucher. I can’t depend on them enough. They’ve been my Achilles heel for everything and we go to them," said Koskela "They’ve been the best guys on the team running the ball and I don’t trust anybody else on the team but them.”
"We take pride in our toughness, for sure. The o-line came out and blocked great for us," Thilmony said. "We have so much depth at running back. If someone has a bad day, someone picks them up as you saw with Bucher today. Great day. It was an all-around team win."