Power-Dutton-Brady, Froid-Medicine Lake and Savage were dominant in their opening-round victories on Saturday, while Bridger made a comeback to knock off Hot Springs in the 6-Man football state playoffs, as all four teams locked up quarterfinal berths.
Bridger 41, Hot Springs 38
A late defensive stand and pick-six propelled the Bridger Scouts to a first-round upset over the Hot Springs Savage Heat, 41-38, on Saturday afternoon.
Baylor Pospisil took an interception back 30 yards to give the Scouts their first lead of the game in the final minutes. The touchdown capped off 21 straight points by the Scouts in the second half to charge back and earn the victory to put Bridger in the quarterfinal round of the 6-Man playoffs.
"That was huge for us, especially to travel all the way up there," Bridger coach Mike Mathis said. "(Hot Springs coach Jim) Lawson is a good coach, he always has them ready and they're always in the playoffs, so to travel all that way and get the win was really huge for us."
Bridger quarterback Chance Goltz threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth to lead the Scouts' offense. Goltz found Zach Althoff for a touchdown pass in the first quarter to tie the game 8-8, then connected with Pospisil at the beginning of the third quarter.
Trailing 38-20, Goltz ran for a score toward the end of the third quarter and found Jace Weimer in the fourth to get the Scouts within 38-35 before Pospisil's touchdown.
Hot Springs turned around quickly and drove the length of the field on the ensuing possession, but the Scouts' defense stopped the Savage Heat on the 5-yard line to force a turnover on downs and regain possession with only a couple of minutes left. The Scouts were ultimately forced to punt, and a last-second heave from Hot Springs fell short on the Bridger 10-yard line as the clock expired, giving Bridger the win.
"It showed them that they're capable of making the big plays," Mathis said of the comeback. "We needed those big plays (Saturday). We dug ourselves an 18-point hole so it was going to take some big plays to get back into the game, and we got them from multiple guys and that's what sealed the win for us."
Rod Zentner took a kickoff back 70 yards in the second quarter to also score for Bridger.
Bridger, the No. 2 seed from the 6-Man South, practiced in Butte on the way over and stopped in Missoula on Friday before driving up to Hot Springs on Saturday morning. With the poor weather and road conditions, a normally 6 1/2-hour drive for the Scouts turned into eight total in terms of time on the road.
The Savage Heat were the No. 2 seed from the 6-Man West. Jack McCallister ran for three touchdowns for Hot Springs and threw for three more, finding Kyle Lawson twice and Lincoln Slonaker as well.
Hot Springs ends its season at 3-2 and will lose six seniors from this year's team.
"The kids played really hard (Saturday)," Jim Lawson said. "We had a good lead at half and in the third quarter, then Bridger had a really good fourth quarter on us. It's always tough to lose a game like that, but at the same time they're a good football team and our kids played hard."
Bridger will visit top-ranked Big Sandy in the quarterfinals.
Power-Dutton-Brady 46, Denton-Geyser-Stanford 15
Power-Dutton-Brady used a massive third quarter to pull away from Denton-Geyser-Stanford on Saturday for a 46-15 win in the opening round of the 6-Man football playoffs.
Trailing 7-6 at halftime, PDB went to Nick Widhalm early and often in the second half. Wildhalm scored from 27 yards out to give the Titans a a 12-7 lead, then scored again from 2 yards out to push the advantage to 20-7. Widhalm's third touchdown of the quarter was an 11-yard pass to Tyce Erickson to grab a 27-7 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Spencer Lenherz had three fourth-quarter touchdowns to push the lead to 46-7 before a Xander Houseman touchdown for DGS. Lenherz had a 35-yard interception return and 25-yard fumble return for scores before capping his day with a 30-yard catch from Widhalm.
PDB, the No. 2 seed out of the North, fell behind DGS, the No. 3 seed out of the Central, when the Bearcats' Houseman plunged in from 2 yards out to give DGS an early 7-0 lead. The Titans answered back with a touchdown pass from Widhalm to Lehnerz to cut into the Bearcats' lead, 7-6.
With the win, Power-Dutton-Brady advances to the quarterfinals and will visit Shields Valley next weekend.
Savage 57, Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap 14
Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap scored on its opening possession, but Savage shut the door on the Titans quickly on its way to a 57-14 win in the opening round of the 6-Man football playoffs.
Savage got rolling in the second quarter when Gentry Conradsen pounded into the end zone from 2 yards out. Sloan McPherson then hit Logan Nelson for a 50-yard touchdown. McPherson hit Conradsen through the air before halftime, as the Warriors led 20-6 at the break.
Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap had some life early in the second half after a 37-yard touchdown pass, but Savage answered right back with a 70-yard pass from McPherson to Nelson. Two plays later, McPherson took an interception to the house and the route was on.
Nelson, Conradsen and a pair of Sterling Thiel touchdowns capped the scoring for the Warriors.
Savage moves on to the quarterfinals where the Warriors will visit 6-Man West champion White Sulphur Springs.
Froid-Medicine Lake 56, Broadview-Lavina 6
Froid-Medicine Lake, the 6-Man East champion, flexed its muscles early and often against 6-Man South No. 3-seed Broadview-Lavina on Saturday en route to a 56-6 win in the opening round of the 6-Man football playoffs.
Freshman quarterback Mason Dethman hit Isaac Johnson for an 18-yard touchdown to open the scoring, then found Brett Stentoft from 14 yards and 26 yards to grab an 18-0 lead. Ashdyn Hobbs sandwiched a pair of rushing touchdowns around Dethman's third touchdown pass to Stentoft to give the Redhawks a 40-0 lead at halftime.
Stentoft added a rushing touchdown in the third quarter and Dethman threw his fifth scoring pass of the game, as the Redhawks led 56-6 through three quarters.
Froid-Medicine Lake moves on to the quarterfinals where it will host Harlowton-Ryegate, the 6-Man Central champion.