BILLINGS — It was a Friday-night matchup between a perennial Class A contender and a growing school looking to take a big step on its football climb.
In the end, first-half dominance by No. 2-ranked Billings Central produced a 29-8 victory over upstart Lockwood on the Lions’ home turf.
On Central’s first play, Duncan Nuckols took a handoff up the middle and ran 70 yards untouched for a TD and a 7-0 lead for the Rams, signaling how the rest of the half would play out. Their next possession was more of the same, as Central QB Adam Balkenbush powered in from 19 yards, making the advantage 14-0.
Balkenbush wasn’t done. The quarterback helped give the Rams a 22-0 lead when he raced 98 yards for another touchdown with less than a minute left in the opening quarter.
After Lockwood missed a field goal, Nuckols broke away for another long TD run — this time from 51 yards — as the Rams increased their lead to 29-0.
Lockwood got on the board late in the third quarter, capping a long drive with a 5-yard touchdown run by Noah Conklin. Conklin also scored the two-point try to cut Central’s lead to 29-8. But that would cap the scoring for both teams.
Nuckols finished with 153 yards on nine carries while Balkenbush had 130 on five attempts. The Rams ended with a total of 423 rushing yards.
Central improved to 8-0 overall and to 4-0 in the Southeast division, while Lockwood is now 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the league. The Lions saw their two-game winning streak snapped.
Elsewhere in Class A ...
No. 1 Dillon 43, Butte Central 7
No. 4 Lewistown 35, Glendive 6
No. 5 Corvallis 17, No. 3 Hamilton 13
Columbia Falls 51, Bigfork 30
Frenchtown 48, Stevensville 20
Havre 39, Sidney 0
Laurel 31, East Helena 6
Libby 42, Browning 26
Miles City 27, Hardin 0
Polson 29, Whitefish 26 OT (Thursday)
Ronan 43, Livingston 14