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Spartans One Win Away From 1st State Title Game Since 2002

If one is searching for the turning point of the Thompson Falls at Scobey quarter- final football playoff game,

which the Spartans won 40-24, there might have been two, perhaps even more as anybody who was present has their own opinion when it, or they, occurred.

Played Saturday, November 7, on a cold afternoon at lights-on Plainsmen Field where the wind-chill factor was in the 15-degree-

above range, the West Division Blue Hawks had just marched 73 yards on 11 rushes to knot it at 24-all with 5 minutes left in the

third quarter. Scobey went three-and-punt and Thompson Falls had an opportunity to take the lead. A couple of block-in-the-back penalties and a Parker Cromwell tackle for loss preceded an 18-yard reception and 5-yard rush, setting up a 4thand-6 near midfield. The Blue Hawks tried a pass but Colter Oie snuffed it out and tackled the receiver for a 3-yard loss and the Spartans had the turnover on downs at the Thompson Falls 31.

Eight plays later it was 32-24 Spartans with 11:40 left in the contest.

With plenty of time to work with the Blue Hawks stayed with their run game and executed four straight

rushes for positive yard-

age, gaining 6, 25 (FD), 13 (FD) and 3 yards. The fifth

play of the possession went backwards for 3 yards as Josh Hammerly and Philip Haynes said no-no. A holding penalty wiped out a 10yard touchdown rush and Thompson Falls faced a 3rd-and-24 from the Scobey 25. Following a pass knock – down by Addison Stentoft, turning point number two occurred. The quarterback couldn't find anyone open enough to let a pass fly while scrambling to his left (south) but Gage Southland found a way to sack him for minus 13 yards and protect the 8-point lead.

Both offenses swapped four-and-outs before Scobey took possession at the Thompson Falls 35-yard line with 4:52 to go.

Following a 5-yard in fraction on Scobey, a 3-yard rush by Jayce Tande and a 5-yard gain by Oie made it

3rd-and-7 from the 32 with

2:56 left on the clock. Zach

Turner grabbed a pass in the

right flat and turned it into a

12-yard gain for a fresh four downs. Three plays later on a 4th-and-10 from the 20 Tande hit Caden Handran with a pass near the goal line and a few steps later it was 38-24. The two then combined through the air for the deuce creating the final 16-point margin with 1:44 to go.

Scobey took a 16-0 lead

9 minutes into the contest but following the second score, Kade Pardee somehow pulled off a Harry Houdini. Trapped near mid- field along the south sideline

he somehow escaped what looked like was going to be a sure tackle on the ensuing kickoff. Seconds later, sprinting east, he completed a 75-yard kickoff return to

put the Blue Hawks on the scoreboard. It is only the second special teams touchdown scored on Scobey this season as MonDak’s lastplay- of-the-game in the season opener in Grenora being the other (fake field-goal at – tempt turned TD pass for the game-winner with no time on the clock).

The Spartans (9-1, 472- 126, 47.2-12.6) host the Shelby Coyotes (6-1, 374-227, 53.4-32.4) Saturday, November 14, at Plainsmen Field in a 1 p.m. kickoff (Radio: KCGM 95.7 FM.

TV: Nemont.TV). The victor will travel to the winner of the Flint Creek (Drummond- Philipsburg) Titans (10-0, 558-52, 55.8-5.2) at

Fort Benton Longhorns (8-

0, 441-74, 55.1-9.2) semifi nal for the Class C 8-Player State Championship Game on Saturday, November 21.

Shelby’s lone loss was a 46-26 decision against Joliet

in the season opener. Fol-

lowing has been a 6-game winning streak: 26-22 over

Chinook; 30-20 over Simms;

76-36 over Mullan-St. Re –

gis; 69-21 over Chester-Jo plin-Inverness to conclude the regular season. In their first-rounder of the playoffs

the Coyotes dropped Clark Fork (Superior-Alberton)

60-14 and last week in the quarterfinals Park City 87-68. The 155-point score-a- thon, which was played in

Park City, featured 1,150

combined offensive yards:

625 for Shelby, including 414 via rush, and 525 for the Panthers. Running back

Cameron Brusven had seven

rushing TDs (51, 61, 2, 20,

17, 42, 1) for the Coyotes, who trailed 34-33 at the half

but led 61-48 through three

quarters. Quarterback Taylor Parsons threw three TD passes, two of them to Tabris Correa, who also had a 60-yard kickoff return in the

fourth quarter.

Can Scobey’s offense maintain its torrid scoring pace? Maybe.

Can the Spartan defense continue to shine? Perhaps.

Are you ready for some semifinal football?