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Class AA roundup: Defense, special teams help Billings West rally past Great Falls High

Posted at 11:12 PM, Sep 14, 2018

BILLINGS — On a night when its high-powered offense was held in check, Billings West got timely plays from its defense and special teams to notch a 28-19 win over Great Falls High in Class AA football action Friday at Daylis Stadium.

The Bison, who entered the game as one of three 3-0 teams in Class AA, built a 13-0 lead on two Blake Thelen touchdown runs, but the Golden Bears scored 28 unanswered points, starting with a 73-yard interception return by Lucas Gibb. The pick-6 got West on the board in the third quarter after a wild start to the second half.

Great Falls High squib-kicked the opening kickoff of the half, recovering the ball to set up Thelen’s second touchdown of the game. On the next kickoff, the Bison booted the ball off a West player and again recovered, taking possession with a 13-0 lead.

That’s when Gibb stepped in, giving the Bears life with his defensive score. On GFH’s next possession, Kade Wilcox blocked a Bison punt, which Connor Ryan recovered and returned for a touchdown. Just like that, West led 14-13 and would add onto the lead in the fourth quarter.

After Jesse Owens intercepted Thelen, the Bears’ offense finally got on the board with a 20-yard touchdown run from DeMarcus Carr. Quarterback Josh Erbacher hit Chapin Marsh for a 42-yard TD later in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Thelen added a passing touchdown to Teage Fought.

West improves to 3-1, while Great Falls falls to 3-1.

Class AA football scores

(Click links for video highlights)

Billings Senior 35, Great Falls CMR 14
Billings West 28, Great Falls 19
Bozeman 48, Butte 16
Helena Capital 49, Billings Skyview 15
Kalispell Flathead 34, Missoula Sentinel 31
Kalispell Glacier 48, Helena High 14
Missoula Big Sky 35, Missoula Hellgate 27