BOZEMAN -- Levi Wesche and the Bozeman High football team came within minutes of earning a first-round bye in the Class AA football playoffs. Alas, last week's 23-19 defeat at Billings West meant the Hawks had to compete in the opening round of the postseason, and Wesche wanted to make sure his squad was prepared to make a statement.
Jordan Jones had four touchdowns in the first half, three passing and one rushing, and the Hawks' defense and special teams made key plays as Bozeman trounced Great Falls CMR 61-14 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Bozeman forced a CMR three-and-out on the opening possession of the game, then needed only three plays for Jones to find Kenneth Eiden IV on a 20-yard scoring strike that put the Hawks ahead for good less than two minutes into the contest.
The Hawks' defense again limited the Rustlers to three offensive plays on the ensuing drive, then Brady Lang blocked a punt and Micajah Weisner scooped it up in the end zone for a touchdown that extended the lead to 14-0. CMR's special teams woes continued on its next drive, this time as the snap in punt formation sailed high and gave the Hawks the ball at the 1-yard line.
Luke Fedyk plunged in seconds later and Bozeman led 21-0.
Jones and Eiden hooked up on the next Bozeman drive, with the Montana State commit Eiden hauling in the reception, bouncing off a would-be tackler and running 15 more yards into the end zone for his second score of the half. Jones added a rushing touchdown with seven ticks left in the quarter, pushing Bozeman's lead to 34-0.
Jones found Logan Pailthorpe on a 44-yard touchdown minutes into the second quarter, then Grayson Cetraro added a 20-yard rushing touchdown to push the game to running clock limits. CMR would add a couple of touchdowns but was no match for the reigning state champion Hawks on offense or defense.
Bozeman (5-2) will travel to Helena High in next weekend's quarterfinal round of the postseason. The Bengals enjoyed a bye after securing the No. 2 seed in the Western AA.