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Q2 AOW: Running Man DeLeon explodes at right time for Billings West

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Posted at 2:02 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 17:45:29-05

BILLINGS - If you don't watch closely, you might miss No. 21 for the Billings West football guys. Defensive linemen sometimes do.

Bears running back Michael DeLeon is fresh off one of West's best football performances ever. And really, one of Montana's best efforts.

He looked like a blur running wild in Friday's 49-28 quarterfinal win over Helena Capital rushing for 305 yards and five touchdowns. He also caught a pair of passes for 18 yards.

DeLeon told MTN Sports afterward, his big offensive explosion certainly wasn't the game plan. It just happened.

"Our offensive line was awesome," he said. "The holes they opened were huge."

Think about the numbers; 305 yards and five touchdowns. That's impressive for a 6-man or 8-man game in Montana. But in Class AA? Absolutely rare.

As the Bears prepare to host Helena High in Friday's 7 p.m. semifinal, DeLeon is only the second player in West history to run for more than 300 yards in a game. The other guy? Speedster John Ueland, who did it once in '93 and again during the '94 season before heading to Colorado State.

West head coach Rob Stanton said he didn't recall ever witnessing a 300-yard rushing game. Teammate Max Murphy, who blasted into the end zone scoring his third TD of the season Friday, said DeLeon deserved that monster game.

"He works hard and it was really fun to watch," Murphy said. "He makes good grades and he's a great teammate."

DeLeon, maybe generously rostered at 5-foot-9, joked to MTN Sports after the win that he's so short, he gets lost racing and cutting through the line.

Asked if he said anything to his offensive linemen in the huddle, the running back replied, 'Yeah, I kept telling them good job. But they're three feet taller than me, so I don't know if they heard me."