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Class A football roundup: Interception in end zone sends Miles City past Dillon

Damian Leidholt
Posted at 3:45 PM, Oct 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 16:20:31-05

The Eastern A sent three teams to the Class A football state semifinals over the weekend with Laurel, Billings Central and Miles City all earning wins. Western A power Hamilton also advanced, after pulling away from Sidney in the opening round of the playoffs.

Miles City 26, Dillon 21

Miles City storms past Dillon in State A playoffs

Have yourself a final two minutes, Carson Hunter.

Hunter threw the go-ahead touchdown and then sealed the win for Miles City with an interception in the end zone as the Cowboys knocked off Dillon, 26-21, on the road to open the Class A football playoffs on Saturday.

Trailing 21-14 entering the fourth quarter, Hunter scored on a 2-yard run to bring the Cowboys within an extra point, but Miles City elected to go for two, though unsuccessfully. That put the pressure on the Cowboys' defense, which held, and gave Hunter and the offense a chance for redemption.

Hunter found Damian Leidholt on a 40-yard score with under three minutes remaining, again the two-point try was no good, but Miles City had the lead for the first time on the afternoon, 26-21.

Dillon moved downfield and gave itself a chance, but Hunter intercepted the final pass attempt in the end zone to send last year's State A champion Cowboys into the semifinal round of the shortened Class A playoffs.

Dillon opened the scoring on Saturday with a trick play that found Cole Truman open in the back of the end zone, giving the Beavers the early 7-0 lead. But Jayden Venable answered for the Cowboys, rumbling in on the ground to slice the deficit to 7-6.

But Jace Fitzgerald passed to Michael Hupp on a screen play that found pay dirt, putting Dillon back ahead 14-6. Leidholt tied the game with a 2-yard rushing touchdown, then two-point conversion reception from Hunter that brought the game to 14-all at half.

The Beavers took their 21-14 advantage on a Fitzgerald-to-Jonny Reiser score, before Hunter and Co. did their late-game damage for the win.

Miles City will travel to Billings Central for a rematch, after the Eastern A's top seed defeated Columbia Falls 35-8 on Saturday afternoon. The Rams crushed the Cowboys 42-0 on Oct. 16.

The other half of the bracket will see Hamilton host Laurel. The Locomotives ran past Frenchtown 35-13 on Friday night, while the Broncs eventually pulled away from Sidney, 24-6, on Saturday afternoon.

Billings Central 35, Columbia Falls 8

Billings Central forces 4 turnovers, rolls past Columbia Falls

Billings Central, The Eastern A's top seed, didn't show much rust in its first game in 15 days, taking a 28-0 lead into the half and forcing four turnovers as the Rams rolled to a 35-8 win over Columbia Falls Saturday afternoon in Lockwood.

Quarterback Marcus Wittman threw two touchdowns and ran for another to pace the Rams. Central's offense hit a rough patch in the first and second quarters, turning the ball over three consecutive possessions, but Brock Ping re-energized the Rams with a 65-yard TD run later in the second, followed by a 65-yard pick-six from Thomas Hubbard to put the game out of reach.

“Defensively we were spot on (Saturday), they executed very well," Central head coach Jim Stanton said of his squad. "(Columbia Falls) had no answers. Really brought some good pressure, good coverage. They had trouble running the ball, so defensively, we were as good as we needed to be.”

Central will host Miles City in the Class A semifinals Saturday. Central blasted the Cowboys 42-0 on Oct. 16.

Class A football scores

Hamilton 24, Sidney 6
Laurel 35, Frenchtown 13 (Friday)
Billings Central 35, Columbia Falls 8
Miles City 26, Dillon 21