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Missoula Loyola, Valley Christian win in dramatic fashion to open season

Posted at 11:23 PM, Aug 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-27 01:29:13-04

MISSOULA — Saturday Night Lights were bright Saturday evening, as Missoula Loyola and Valley Christian won in thrilling fashion to open their seasons with victories.

The Loyola Sacred Heart Rams topped Three Forks 21-14 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium to begin the Class B football season on the right foot. Meanwhile, Valley Christian got a game-winning field goal from Judah Levy to give them a 43-42 victory over Charlo in the 8-Man ranks.

In the Class B game, Three Forks led first 6-0 in the first quarter after Shane Williams connected with Tallyn McCauley on a touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion was no good.

Loyola got a break in the second quarter after a bad snap on a punt pinned Three Forks down on their own 1-yard line, and it didn't take long for Loyola to capitalize on a powerful run by Taylor Jones. The PAT also was no good, tying the game at 6-6 heading into the break.

The Rams opened the third quarter with a five-play drive that saw quarterback Jack Clevenger break off a big run, followed by a big connection between him and Declan Harrington that put Loyola on the Three Forks' 3-yard line. Two plays later, Clevenger punched it in, and he found Harrington for the 2-point conversion to make it 14-6.

Later in the third, Three Forks responded as Williams kept it himself on a 35-yard run to get to the 1-yard line and he punched it in on the next play and scored the 2-point conversion to make it 14-14 with 1:01 left in the third.

Loyola found the game-winning score with 9:53 left as Clevenger hit Nolan Lee for a big touchdown connection to make it 21-14. Then in the final minute, Three Forks drove down to Loyola's 17-yard line, but Ethan Stack came up with the interception to seal the win for the Rams.

In Valley Christian's win, the Eagles led 20-14 at halftime before the second half became a shootout.

The Eagles were up 40-34 with a minute to play when Charlo took the lead, 42-40, with 22 seconds to go. But Valley Christian quickly got down to Charlo's 10-yard line, leaving the game up to Levy, who sent the Eagles into jubilation with a 27-yard game-winning field goal.

For highlights from both games, check out the video above.