LEWISTOWN — Gage Norslien had a hand in all five Lewistown touchdowns on Saturday afternoon to lead the Golden Eagles past Billings Central for the 2022 State A title.
Norslien got his day started on the game's opening posession when he found Maxx Ray for a 24-yard touchdown to put the Eagles up 7-0.
Norslien struck again early in the second quarter on a 53-yard score to Matthew Golik to put Lewistown up 14-0. Norslien added a 2-yard touchdown run with just under six minutes remaining in the half to put the Eagles up 21-0 and threaten a blowout.
Central, however, scored with under a minute to play in the opening half on a 20-yard pass from Adam Balkenbush to Brayden Flores. The Rams opened the second half with the ball and took the ball down and scored on a 19-yard pass from Balkenbush to Hunter Doyle.
Then Lewistown put the game to bed. Norslien ripped off a 50-yard scoring run punctuated by a devastating stiff arm on his way to the end zone for a 27-14 lead. Kieran Netburn intercepted Balkenbush's pass on the ensuing possession, leading to another rushing score from Norslien.
"We've got two of our football brothers looking down on us (Saturday)," Lewistown head coach Derek Lear said. "This community deserves this. These boys deserve this. I'm speechless right now to be honest with you, and I'm so excited for these boys. Like I said, they've been through a ton together, for them to be able to celebrate this is unbelievable."
"It started way back when I was in elementary school, being down on this field with my brothers, throwing the ball around or up in the weight room. There's just so much heart and energy put into this game, then to share it with the community behind us right here, I can't explain it. It's a great feeling."
It's Lewistown's first state championship since 2001 and second in program history.