(Editor's note: Scores will be updated throughout Friday night.)
BIGFORK — In one of the season’s most thrilling games, No. 2 Bigfork remained unbeaten by mere inches.
An 11-yard touchdown pass from Tristen Herd to Isak Epperly with 39 seconds left gave Bigfork a one-point lead. No. 3 Florence then frantically pushed into Viking territory to try a game-winning 39-yard field goal, but the ball bounced off the crossbar and fell short, giving Bigfork a 20-19 win as time expired.
In a rematch of last year’s title game won 42-0 by Florence, Bigfork’s special teams unit made a huge difference early by blocking two punts.
The first set the offense up with great field position leading to a 4-yard touchdown run by Joseph Farrier and a 7-0 Vikings lead three minutes in. The next block helped produce a 27-yard touchdown throw from Herd to Epperly on fourth down and the score was 14-0.
Florence cut into its deficit with 5:26 left in the first half on a 14-yard touchdown run by QB Patrick Duchien on fourth down.
The Falcons were threatening to tie the game midway through the third, but Nick Walker strip-sacked Duchien and Bigfork recovered. Walker later had a second strip-sack on Duchien to stop another drive, and the quarter ended with the score unchanged.
After a botched punt by Bigfork, Duchien scored his second TD of the night from 3 yards out, but the point-after was missed and the Vikings remained ahead 14-13 with 8:16 left.
Duchien wasn’t denied with 1:32 remaining, as he punched in his third touchdown from 2 yards away to give the Falcons their first lead at 19-14.
Bigfork fought back on its ensuing possession, converting a fourth-down play and later scoring on the aforementioned touchdown connection between Herd and Epperly to go back ahead 20-19 (after a missed PAT) with 39 seconds left.
Florence then marched into Bigfork territory to set up the winning field goal try, but it fell just short.
Bigfork improved to 7-0. Florence is now 6-2.
Other Class B scores:
No. 1 Huntley Project 63, Colstrip 12
No. 5 Malta 37, Glasgow 6 (Highlights below)
No. 8 Eureka 48, Anaconda 14
No. 9 Big Timber 33, No. 4 Townsend 27
No. 10 Jefferson 48, Columbus 12
Conrad 34, Wolf Point 14
Fairfield 7, Cut Bank 0
Manhattan 50, Three Forks 6 (Highlights below)
Missoula Loyola 28, Thompson Falls 13
Red Lodge 42, Roundup 0
Shepherd 46, Baker 8