GREAT FALLS — Brooks Talbot rushed for two touchdowns and the defense clamped down in the second half as the Bozeman Hawks overcame a halftime deficit to defeated Great Falls High 30-7 in Eastern AA football action Friday at Memorial Stadium.
The Hawks scored three times on the ground and overcame numerous penalties on offense while forcing Great Falls to punt five times in the second half.
Bozeman opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 33-yard field goal from Elijah Eckles, although the score came after a bad snap forced the Hawks out of prime scoring position inside the Bison 10-yard line.
Great Falls High drove deep into Bozeman territory in the second quarter before fumbling the ball back to Bozeman. However, the Hawks returned the favor on their ensuing drive, giving the ball back to Great Falls on the Hawk 15-yard line. The Bison would eventually capitalize with a 3-yard rushing touchdown from Ryan Krahe.
Bozeman attempted to take the lead back before halftime with a methodical drive that included a fourth-down conversion, but a Bison sack from Ethan DeRoche and a holding penalty forced the Hawks into a turnover on downs as the clock expired.
In the second half, Bozeman regained the lead when Talbot scored from 3 yards out to make it 10-7. On the ensuing Bison possession, sophomore quarterback Reed Harris threw an interception to Reece Stanish, who set up the Hawks nicely with a 25-yard return. The Hawks would then dial up Talbot again from short yardage to take a 17-7 lead right before the end of the third.
The Bison were forced to punt on their next three possessions, while Bozeman would add to its big lead when Jess Wattenbarger rushed for a 4-yard TD and Jordan Jones found Tucker Macbeth 5 yards through the air for another score to make it 30-7.
"I thought we were very physical the whole game, but we put ourselves in some bad down and distance situations with penalties and blown plays," said Bozeman head coach Levi Wesche. "We cleaned that stuff up in the second half, and my defense was lights out the whole second half, they didn't give an inch. We challenged them at half to be better, to clean up their play and they did."
Bozeman improved to 2-1 and will host Great Falls CMR next week. Great Falls sinks to 1-2, setting up a matchup with winless Belgrade.
Class AA football scores
(Scroll through the videos above for game highlights)
Billings Senior 59, Belgrade 21
Billings Skyview 20, Great Falls CMR 0
Billings West 70, Bozeman Gallatin 0
Bozeman High 30, Great Falls High 7
Helena High 55, Missoula Hellgate 14
Helena Capital 41, Kalispell Flathead 0
Kalispell Glacier 36, Missoula Big Sky 18
Missoula Sentinel 52, Butte 7