BUTTE — Drummond-Philipsburg has won back-to-back 8-Man state championships.
The Titans thoroughly dominated Great Falls Central, 50-14, on Saturday afternoon at Naranche Stadium in Butte to cap their second consecutive unbeaten season with a state championship.
“We just come to play hard, every football game, Great Falls Central is a great football team, and we never take anything for granted,” said Drummond-Philipsburg head coach Mike Cutler.
After the two teams traded punts throughout the majority of the first quarter, Drummond-Philipsburg’s Jaxon Lee broke free for a 41-yard touchdown run to put the Titans up 8-0 at the end of the first quarter. Great Falls Central answered right back, scoring on the opening play of the second quarter when quarterback Noah Ambuehl hit Luke Marmon for a 55-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 8-7. But that’s as close as the game would get the remainder of the way.
Just one minute after the Mustangs got on the scoreboard, the Titans scored again. Kade Cutler hit Daniel Brabender for an 18-yard touchdown to push the lead to 16-7. Lee picked off Ambuehl on the ensuing possession to set up his second touchdown of the day, a 10-yard run to extend the lead to 22-7. Ambuehl and the Mustangs would strike quickly, as Drew Newman hauled in a 27-yard touchdown reception from Ambuehl. But Cutler ripped off a 61-yard run to extend the Titans’ lead to 28-14.
Great Falls Central was driving at the end of the first half, but Lee picked off Ambuehl in the end zone to thwart the Mustangs’ opportunity.
The Titans opened the second half with a long drive capped by a 26-yard touchdown run by Lee, pushing the lead to 36-14. Again Great Falls Central drove deep into Drummond-Philipsburg territory, but again Lee intercepted Ambuehl in the end zone.
After an incredible one-handed interception by Shane Girres, turnovers again stopped the Mustangs in their tracks. Drummond-Philipsburg defensive lineman Kain Hess strip-sacked Ambuehl and the Titans recovered at the Great Falls Central 3-yard line. Colby Manley plunged in from a yard out to extend the Titans’ lead to 44-14. Lee put the exclamation point on the victory with a 4-yard touchdown catch from Cutler, pushing the lead to 50-14 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Lee finished with 246 yards on 18 carries and totaled four touchdowns. His three interceptions gave him 13 for the season.
“We couldn’t do it without the community,” said Lee, surrounded by members of the Drummond and Philipsburg communities. “We got Rick Sonner right here, he gets the bus together. I mean, it’s all the community. The community is huge on us and we couldn’t do it without the community.”