COLUMBIA FALLS — Carson Rostad threw four touchdown passes, his second setting a new Class A career record, and ran for two more as Hamilton downed rival Columbia Falls 41-27 on Saturday for a trip to the Class A football state championship game next weekend. The Broncs will host Billings Central, which defeated Laurel in the other semifinal on Friday night.
Rostad found Michael Golden for an 11-yard touchdown pass on Hamilton’s opening drive, that after rushing for a key 4th-down conversion minutes prior, giving the Broncs a quick 7-0 lead. But the Wildcats responded in just two plays, the latter a 69-yard touchdown run from star running Colten McPhee, his 29th rushing score of the season, which tied former Butte Central standout Matt Ritter for the most in a single season in Class A history.
But Rostad was nowhere near finished.
The junior quarterback picked up another 4th-down conversion early in the second quarter, then capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Broncs back in front, 14-7. Columbia Falls would never get closer than seven points the rest of the contest.
Rostad hit senior receiver Camron Rothie for a 76-yard strike minutes later, giving Rostad his 102nd career touchdown pass, moving ahead of former Havre standout Dane Warp for the most in Class A history. The score was Rothie’s 41st touchdown reception, also No. 1 in Class A history.
Hamilton led 21-7 at halftime, but McPhee sliced the lead to 21-14 with a 32-yard touchdown. Rostad, though, added his second rushing touchdown of the game, a 10-yard scamper at the 4:25 mark in the third. Following a Tyler Barnes interception, Rostad found Rothie for a 14-yard touchdown to give the Broncs a 34-14 lead.
Rostad’s touchdown pass to Golden, a 1-yard scoring strike early in the fourth, was the final score of the game for the Broncs. Drew Morgan and McPhee added rushing touchdowns for Columbia Falls in the final period to cap the scoring.
Rostad finished the game with 19 completions for 220 yards and four touchdowns. He enters next weekend’s state championship game with 41 passing touchdowns and 52 total touchdowns, each are second-most in a single season behind former Columbia Falls quarterback Dakota Bridwell, according to Class A statistician Brian Reed. Rostad now has 124 career passing touchdowns, most all-time in Class A.
Golden carried the ball 23 times for 145 yards, while hauling in two receiving touchdowns. Rothie finished with seven receptions for 107 yards and two scores, and is now 15 receptions and 287 yards from moving past former Hamilton receiver Bridger Bauder for the single-season Class A records, per Reed.
McPhee capped his Columbia Falls career with 17 rushes, 180 yards and three touchdowns, finishing with 1,987 yards on the season, just shy of becoming the second player in Class A history to reach the 2,000-yard mark.
Hamilton will host Billings Central for the Class A state championship next Saturday afternoon.