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Class AA roundup: Billings West handles Bozeman 35-3, wins Eastern AA

Caden Dowler Billings West
Posted at 9:44 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-23 01:43:36-04

(Editor’s note: this article will be updated with scores and highlights as games finish)

Billings West 35, Bozeman 3

BILLINGS - Bozeman scored first on Friday night but Billings West reeled off 35 unanswered points to close football's regular season with a 35-3 win over the Hawks and the Eastern AA title.

After Bozeman took a 3-0 lead on its opening possession, Taco Dowler returned the ensuing kickoff 79 yards, weaving in and out of traffic while dodging would-be tacklers, for a 7-3 Bears lead.

Late in the first quarter, Isaiah Claunch hit Caden Dowler with a quick strike over the middle that turned into another bob-and-weave touchdown of 77 yards. Claunch scored on a QB keeper in the second quarter for a 21-3 halftime lead.

West opened the third marching down field before Caden Dowler took a direct snap for a 5-yard score. The Bears capped their scoring late in the third on a handoff to Michael DeLeon who made it 35-3 dancing in from inside the 10.

West (8-1, 7-0) earns an opening round bye when Class AA's playoffs open next week. Bozeman closes the regular season 5-4, 5-2.

Billings Senior 42, Belgrade 0

BELGRADE— In the final week of the regular season, playoff implications were still on the line for Belgrade. Coming into Friday night, the Panthers were 1-5 in Eastern AA sitting one spot below Gallatin who had a close grip on the No. 6 seed. However, if the Raptors lost while Belgrade found a way to upset Senior in Week 9, the Panthers would clinch their first playoff berth in Class AA.

Unfortunately for Belgrade, that’s not how Friday shaped out, as the Panthers was shutout by the Broncs 42-0.

Senior’s Jacob Miller led the way with three touchdowns in the first half. Two came on the ground from one yard out and 15-yards out. Miller completed the hat trick to close out the second quarter with a 7-yard reception from quarterback Peyton Oakley.

Bozeman Gallatin 49, Billings Skyview 0

BOZEMAN— Bozeman Gallatin needed a win on Friday to clinch the first Class AA playoff appearance in school history. The Raptors didn't let the opportunity slip, dominating Billings Skyview 49-0 to clinch.

The Raptors would strike first with just minutes remaining in the first. On fourth down and goal from the 7-yard-line, junior quarterback Garrett Dahlke threw it up to Tyler Nansel who made a terrific grab for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Gallatin.

Three minutes later, Gallatin finds would find themselves in Skyview territory once again. Dahlke dropped off a pass to his older senior brother Noah and he did the rest for a 15-yard TD.

After a bad Skyview punt, junior running back Bryce Mikkelson took the handoff and he ran down the sideline with only one Skyview defender to beat. He gave him a little stutter step and scored a 34-yard rushing touchdown. 21-0 raptors.

Midway through the second quarter Dahlke found the Montana State commit Rylan Schlepp with nobody around him for an 11-yard passing touchdown.

Dahlke ended up throwing for five touchdowns on the day. The Raptors finish the regular season 4-5, 2-5 and will be the Eastern AA's No. 6 seed in the playoffs. Billings Skyview finishes 1-8, 0-7.

Class AA scores

Billings Senior 42, Belgrade 0
Bozeman Gallatin 49, Billings Skyview 0
Helena High 21, Helena Capital 7
Great Falls High 35, Great Falls CMR 21