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Saturday football roundup: Big Sandy, Shields Valley clinch conference titles

Posted at 7:15 PM, Oct 26, 2019

Big Sandy and Shields Valley clinched the final two No. 1 seeds in the 6-Man playoffs on Saturday. Big Sandy shut out Power-Dutton-Brady, while Shields Valley enacted a running clock on Bridger.

Big Sandy 35, Power-Dutton-Brady 0

The Big Sandy football team had its sights set on a state championship even before the first snap of the 2019 season. On Saturday, the Pioneers moved a step closer to that goal as they beat Power-Dutton-Brady 35-0 in the de facto 6-Man North title game in Dutton.

Kade Strutz led the way for the Pioneers with four touchdowns. The junior running back opened the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. On the Titans' ensuing possession, Strutz picked off an errant pass from Nicholas Widhalm and took it to the house from 43 yards to make the score 14-0 Pioneers. Strutz scored again on the ground in the third and fourth quarters.

Pioneer quarterback Parker Proulx added a score of his own with a 12-yard keeper mid-way through the fourth quarter to make it 35-0.

Big Sandy moves to 8-0 and will be the North's No. 1 seed for the state playoffs next week. Power-Dutton-Brady moves to 6-1 and will be the North's No. 2 seed.

Shields Valley 44, Bridger 12

On a cold, snowy Saturday night in Bridger, Shields Valley clinched the 6-Man South regular-season title and the conference's top seed with a 44-12 win over Bridger.

"I thought our guys did a great job. We had the one fumble in the first half that threw us off, but we rebounded from it really well," Shields Valley head coach Mitch Ward said. "I think we won the turnover battle. We did a really good job of getting two hands on the ball when we were running it. ... Things like that that can be tough in weather conditions like this. Our guys did a great job."

The Rebels drove down the field on their opening possession and scored on a 35-yard toss from Kaden Acosta to Aidan Jenkins. That was just the beginning of a big night for Jenkins.

After Shields Valley intercepted a Bridger pass in the end zone, the Rebels again marched right down the field. This time, it was Emmett Gilbert finding the end zone, as he plunged in from a yard out. Jenkins added a 9-yard rushing touchdown to put Shields Valley up 22-0 at halftime.

Shields Valley kept the pedal to the metal in the second half, as it opened up with an onside kick that it promptly recovered. Kaden Acosta then found Dylann Flatt for an 8-yard score to put the Rebels up 30-0. Bridger answered with a touchdown pass from Chance Goltz to Jake Kallevig, but the Rebels continued to move the ball at will against the Scouts defense.

"I thought that was huge," Ward said of the onside kick. "Our kickoff coverage had been bad all night. It's tough to cover a kickoff when the field is this slippery. We wanted to come out and onside kick it. It's been successful for us all year, our guys executed the onside kick, we got the momentum right away, put another score up, so it was huge."

Jenkins added his second rushing score of the night from 10 yards out, then Gilbert scored from 5 yards out on the ground to push the Rebels' lead to 44-6. Bridger would score as time expired for the 44-12 final.

Gilbert finished with 224 rushing yards and a pair of scores on 24 carries to lead the Shields Valley offense. He also had 18 tackles to lead the defense. Jenkins had 98 yards and three touchdowns on seven total touches.

"We're putting in new stuff every week with these guys. (Gilbert) is our workhorse. He's running the ball, he can run the ball 20 times a game. We need a big play, we get the ball to (Jenkins). They're different in the way that they work, so it's fun to do different stuff with them."

Shields Valley will host Geraldine-Highwood, the North's No. 5 seed, in the opening round of the playoffs, while Bridger will host West No. 3 White Sulphur Springs.

Saturday football scores:

Big Sandy 35, Power-Dutton-Brady 0
Noxon 36, White Sulphur Springs 35
Shelby 33, Centerville 14
Sheridan 75, Valley Christian 32
Shields Valley 44, Bridger 12
West Yellowstone 62, Lone Peak 14
Wibaux 36, Savage 0