TOWNSEND — No. 4 Big Timber dominated from start to finish against Townsend, winning 46-17 in Townsend on Friday night behind Casey Gunlikson’s four total touchdowns..
“It’s always a tough game when you come into Townsend, but I think our kids, our level right now where they believe in themselves and in what we’re doing, we have absolute and total buy-in. They just came to play. I was very proud of them today,” Big Timber head coach JV Moody said after Friday’s win.
The Herders started fast, scoring in three minutes on their opening drive. Blake Finn went up the seam to find Gunlikson, who went up over the top of the defender to snag a 31-yard touchdown, putting Big Timber up 7-0.
Gunlikson was far from done. On Big Timber’s second possession, he took a counter handoff and scored from 21 yards out. Following an interception by Dawson Laverell, Gunlikson found pay dirt for the third time of the half on a 25-yard run around the edge.
“He’s always a threat with his speed,” Moody said of Gunlikson. “He’s just fun to watch and he has to be accounted for.”
Big Timber made just one mistake all night — kicking to Townsend’s Kameron Rauser. With the Bulldogs trailing 20-3, Rauser returned a kickoff for a touchdown to pull Townsend within 10.
However, Big Timber scored twice before the half to put the game out of reach. First, Finn found Gunlikson on a hitch that Gunlikson turned into a 60-yard score. He weaved in and out of the defense before turning on the jets and leaving the Townsend defenders in the dust. Austin Hanson then returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown with just 10 seconds left in the half to give Big Timber a 32-10 halftime advantage.
Big Timber wound the clock in the second half, leaning heavily on Orry Carroccia and the run game. The Herders’ offensive line continually moved defenders off the ball allowing Carroccia to pick up chunk yards.
“I’ll tell you what, they rolled tonight. The offensive line did an outstanding job, as well as the defensive line,” Moody said.
Big Timber did a phenomenal job of slowing down Rauser outside of his one touchdown. Rauser was targeted throughout the game, but Big Timber’s defensive line forced errant throws and the secondary punished any Townsend receiver coming across the middle.
“We hawked (Rauser) with Gunlikson, kind of matched speed with speed,” Moody said. “I think we did a good job. He got some big plays, you don’t stop everybody, but a kid like that you just hope to contain him.”
With the win, Big Timber takes complete control of the Southern B and improves its record to 5-0. Townsend falls to 3-2.
Class B football scores
Bigfork 43, Thompson Falls 0
Big Timber 46, Townsend 17
Colstrip 41, Huntley Project 26
Fairfield 43, Cut Bank 0
Florence 56, Anaconda 8
Glasgow 20, Conrad 14
Manhattan 25, Jefferson 18
Missoula Loyola 56, Eureka 12
Red Lodge 41, Baker 0
Roundup 56, Shepherd 0
Whitehall 34, Three Forks 28
Wolf Point 40, Harlem 28