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Undefeated, top-ranked Dillon Beavers on track to lock up Western A title

Posted at 5:46 PM, Oct 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-10 19:55:50-04

DILLON — Last week's matchup between No. 1 Dillon and No. 2 Hamilton seemed to have the makings of a Class A barn-burner.

But with starting Broncs quarterback Tyson Bauder serving a one-game suspension, Hamilton's offense mustered just seven points against the Beavers. And Dillon's offense built a 28-7 lead before a fourth-quarter pick-6 from Max Davis put a stamp on the Beavers' biggest win so far this season.

"We just have so many players that can make a play on any given night," said Dillon junior receiver and linebacker Carter Curnow. "We're so versatile. We can run the ball, take shots. We're so well rounded on offense."

Dillon is now 6-0 and the last remaining unbeaten team in the Western A. And with the Beavers set to close out the regular season against Butte Central and Libby — two teams with a combined three wins — Dillon is on track to lock up the Western A crown, a first-round playoff bye and home field advantage through at least the semifinals. Friday's win over Hamilton was also Dillon's first victory over the Broncs since 2019.

"Fortunate to come out of it and be 6-0 right now," said Dillon coach Zach McRae. "We feel like we got miles to go. Excited about the Hamilton game. But our goals don't stop with them."

With a top seed within their sights, the Beavers are in a position they haven't been since the 2016 season. That year — with Rick Nordahl as head coach and Troy Andersen at quarterback — Dillon entered the Class A playoffs as the No. 1 seed out of the Southwest A and emerged as Class A champions.

That 2016 squad was a special one and this current group — including a class of 11 seniors — will be looking to replicate the success that last championship team conjured in Nordahl's second-to-last season at the helm.

Senior quarterback Kee Christiansen — who has been Dillon's starting signal-caller the past three seasons — has continued to excel as a dual threat QB, tossing 15 touchdown passes and running for eight more scores.

"All those years have really prepped me for my senior year," said Christansen. "So I'm feeling a lot more confident. Our ability to move the ball around the field just feels a lot easier."

The Beavers playoff run will begin in a few weeks, in all likelihood with Dillon heading in as a top seed. The Beavers past three trips to the postseason have ended in one-possession losses, most recently to Billings Central in the quarterfinals last year, where the Rams went on a go-ahead drive that consumed most of the fourth quarter.

"It's definitely heartbreaking when we lost that game in the playoffs," Christiansen said. "And so we're pushing ourselves today to get better and every other day."

Said McRae: "You don't get over the hump by thinking about it all the time. You get over it by doing the work. I'm really proud of our guys for embracing the scars and going to work."