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Class AA playoffs: Bozeman, Capital, Gallatin, Glacier surge into semifinals

Posted at 10:18 PM, Nov 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-04 00:46:38-04

BOZEMAN — Quinn Clark scored three touchdowns and Wes Donaghey had two others in Bozeman Gallatin’s 40-6 Class AA quarterfinal playoff victory over Helena High on Friday at Van Winkle Stadium.

The win sends the Raptors, the East’s No. 2 seed, into next week semifinals with a 9-1 overall record. Helena’s season ended at 7-4.

Not to be outdone, top-seeded Bozeman High took care of business in the second game of what was a Van Winkle quarterfinal doubleheader, beating Butte 31-7 to advance to the semis. The Hawks, the lone unbeaten in Class AA, improved to 10-0. Butte finished its season with a 7-4 record.

The first game began in favor of Helena High. The Bengals pounced on a muffed punt in the opening quarter, which led to a 2-yard touchdown run by Carter Kraft and an early lead. The Bengals tried a two-point conversion but it failed.

The Raptors answered and jumped into the lead later in the first quarter when Grant Vigen and Quinn Clark connected on an 85-yard touchdown pass, giving Gallatin a 7-6 advantage.

The explosive plays continued for the Raptors in the second quarter, as Reese Dahlke scored on a 56-yard run. The extra-point attempt was blocked, but Gallatin at that point was up 13-6.

Gallatin took command late in the third on a 3-yard TD run by Clark. Earlier in the possession, Vigen connected with Carter Dahlke on a key fourth-down conversion to move the chains.

In the fourth, Wes Donaghey scored on a 7-yard run, then Gallatin recovered an onside kick with produced a 25-yard TD run by Donaghey. Later, Clark scored his third touchdown of the game on a short pass from Vigen.

Gallatin advanced to next week's semifinals, where it will travel to face Kalispell Glacier, the West's No. 1 and a 46-12 winner over Missoula Sentinel on Friday (highlights below).

Bozeman routs Butte 31-7, advances to state semifinals

In the second game, Bozeman took a three-score lead into halftime thanks to a 4-yard touchdown run by Harley Bianchini with 4:00 left in the opening quarter, a field goal in the second quarter and a Kellen Harrison TD pass to Rocky Lencioni just before the half that was the end result of a Butte turnover in the red zone.

A 19-yard touchdown run by Harrison gave the Hawks a 24-0 lead midway through the third. Harrison added a 6-yard TD run midway through the fourth to put Bozeman up 31-0 and put the game away.

Butte avoided a shutout with a late touchdown — an 18-yard pass from Bo Demarais to Hudson Leudtke.

Bozeman will host Helena Capital in next week's semifinal round. The Bruins defeated Billings West 28-6 in the quarterfinals on Friday night (highlights below). To see the updated Class AA pairings and bracket, click here.

Elsewhere in Class AA ...

Kalispell Glacier 46, Missoula Sentinel 12

Glacier dominates Sentinel 46-12 to advance to AA semifinals

Helena Capital 28, Billings West 6

Helena Capital pushes past Billings West, into state semifinals