Missoula Loyola continues to surprise everyone but itself in the Class B football playoffs. Florence, meanwhile, is back in familiar territory.
The Rams beat previously unbeaten Bigfork 14-6 on Saturday to earn a berth in next week’s state title game. Loyola (7-5) will face Florence, which beat Jefferson 40-28 behind a big game from QB Patrick Duchien. The Falcons (10-2) are still alive in defense of their state championship.
The teams will meet next Saturday in Florence.
Bigfork saw its season come to an end with a 10-1 record. Jefferson finished with an 8-4 mark.
Missoula Loyola 14, Bigfork 6
BIGFORK — Loyola scored two third-quarter touchdowns, and that proved to be enough to send the Rams into the state championship game.
Malik Lyttle caught a 17-yard TD pass from Aiden Round with 3:24 left in the third, and Talen Reynolds added a 3-yard scoring run just before the end of the quarter to put Loyola up 14-0.
Bigfork got on the board in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Joseph Farrier but could get no closer. The Rams’ Jake Jamieson intercepted two stymie Bigfork’s offense.
Reynolds was Loyola’s workhorse, carrying the ball 32 times for 99 yards. Round threw for 95 yards without an interception.
Florence 40, Jefferson 23
FLORENCE — Patrick Duchien threw for 237 yards and three touchdowns to send Florence back to the state title game.
Duchien threw TD two TD passes to William Wagner and another to Isaac Bates. Duchien also ran for a touchdown as the Falcons began to pull away.
Brodie Hinsdale had 52 yards rushing and scored two times on the ground for Florence, while Tyler Abbott caught five passes for 67 yards.
Jefferson pulled within 14-10 in the first quarter when Jace Oxarart returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. But Florence eventually built a 34-10 lead after an 18-yard TD throw from Duchien to Wagner.
Jefferson scored the final points of the game late in the fourth quarter on a Luke Oxarart touchdown pas to Johnny Armstrong that covered 30 yards.