DILLON — Kee Christiansen watched Kale Konen rush into the end zone and then glanced back at the sideline.
Konen's touchdown run had just brought Dillon within one point of Columbia Falls in the first period of overtime of a Class A state football championship at Vigilante Stadium that saw the Wildcats rally out of a double-digit deficit in the final minutes to push the game to an extra frame.
"I saw Kale go in and then looked at coach (Zach) McRae and he was holding up the go-for-two sign," said Christiansen.
The ensuing two-point conversion attempt would be the final and most important play of Christiansen's high school career, and his coach opted to put the ball in his hands rather than attempt a game-tying point-after kick.
The potential outcomes were obvious: a championship victory to cap off a perfect season or bust.
Out of a three-receiver shotgun package, two left and one right, Christiansen took the snap with the play calling for him to run it in off the left tackle. But the Wildcats stuffed that gap and he was forced to bounce it to the left and hope that slot receiver Cooper Anderson — who played the game with three broken ribs — and wideout Max Davis would recognize the change of plans.
"I blocked my guy and looked back to see where Kee is, and he's bouncing it out," said Anderson. "I was like, 'Uh-oh.' But I had my guy blocked pretty well. It was just up to Kee to make a man miss and score."
Here's Kee Christiansen's championship-sealing 2 point conversion run as Dillon outlasts Columbia Falls in OT in the Class A championship. The Beavers have completed a perfect season, and Dillon has its ninth title since 2000. #mtscores pic.twitter.com/FWtPrmBukP— Luke Shelton (@lukeshelton_mtn) November 18, 2023
Offensive line coach Brett Carver — the father of Hamilton head coach Bryce Carver and Dillon assistant coach since 1989 — watched the play unfold and for one breathless moment thought Christiansen might get tripped up in the backfield.
"At first I was like, 'Oh, man. I don't know if we got it,'" Carver recalled. "But Kee's speed is so good. And when he started to get that edge I knew we had it."
Christiansen crossed the end zone just inside the left pylon to lift Dillon to a 36-35 overtime victory and hand the Beavers their first championship — this one with an undefeated 11-0 record — since 2016 and ninth since 2000.
This year's squad had just emulated what that Troy Andersen-led 2016 team accomplished — beat Columbia Falls to bring another trophy to Beaverhead County.
And it all rode on that gutsy, all-or-nothing play.
"Reflecting on it, there might have been some more that went into how quickly I made the decision," said McRae. "I think if we would have showed up to Day 1 of fall camp and somebody would have said, 'You guys got a yard and a half to win a state championship. Can you get a yard and a half?' I think anybody would take that chance."