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Class A roundup: No. 5 Billings Central staves off Laurel in 78th all-time meeting

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Posted at 10:51 PM, Sep 15, 2023

BILLINGS — The 78th meeting between longtime Yellowstone County rivals Billings Central and Laurel came down to the wire Friday night.

The No. 5-ranked Rams beat Laurel 26-21 at Herb Klindt Field on the campus of Rocky Mountain College in a game that was decided in the fourth quarter. Laurel led 21-20 but coughed up a fumble that was both forced and recovered by Central’s Xavier Brackenridge. That led to the go-ahead touchdown, a 1-yard sneak by Thomas Norman.

The Locomotives, who initially took their 21-20 lead by scoring on a blocked punt, lost a fumble on their next possession as well, which allowed Central to run out the clock — but not without a conversion on fourth-and-1 from its own 40-yard line.

Ayden Salter rushed for a game-high 126 yards for the Rams. Quarterback Adam Balkenbush completed 5 of 7 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Billings Central now leads the all-time series 58-19-1. The Rams improved to 4-0 while Laurel dropped to 2-2.

Elsewhere in Class A ...

No. 1 Lewistown 31, Lockwood 7

No. 2 Dillon 46, Frenchtown 14

No. 3 Hamilton 41, Stevensville 7

Whitefish 20, No. 4 Columbia Falls 14 (OT)

Whitefish stuns Columbia Falls, wins in overtime

Bigfork 41, Libby 6

Browning 32, Livingston 8

Corvallis 53, Butte Central 0

Corvallis storms past Butte Central 53-0, remains unbeaten at 4-0

Glendive 21, Havre 20

Hardin 34, Sidney 33

Miles City 40, East Helena 14

Polson 48, Ronan 10