Strong defense propels team to 23-12 win
By Mike Coil Weekly sports writer
In their second home game of the season the Lone Peak High School Big Horns (2-1) surged to a 23-12 victory over the Warriors of Billings Christian (2-2) on Saturday, Sept. 17.
The Horns got going early when they scored first at 5:12 of the first quarter on a handoff from Horns quarterback Justin McKillop to Tommy Tosic who ran 40 yards down the left sideline for the score.
The Horns then elected to attempt the point after kick, which was good by Tucker Shea and added two points. Six-man football awards two points for made kicks and one point for running the ball into the end zone.
The Warriors drove the length of the field at the end of the first quarter to score but missed their point after attempt, and the score at the end of the first quarter was 8-6 with the Big Horns in the lead.
Lone Peak scored again with 7:32 left in the secondwhen McKillop handed the ball to Tucker Shea, who went 20 yards on the right sidelineand dove into the end zone. The point after attempt was a successful running play that made the score 15–6.
The Warriors scored again before halftime on a pass play but were unable to convert for the extra point. That would be the last score by the Warriors due to the hard-hitting defense of the Big Horns.
Late in the first half Horns linebacker Gunner Freeman prevented a Warrior touchdown with a solo open-field tackle of a Warriors running back that outweighed him by 85 pounds.
The Big Horns were up 15–12 at the half.
The teams remained scoreless in the third quarter as they both stiffened up defensively. Freeman again displayed his defensive skills with a pair of open-field tackles against much larger opponents.
The Warriors were threatening early in the fourth when Tosic intercepted a pass at the 10-yard line to prevent a Warrior score.
Lone Peak scored again on a pass play from McKillop to Shea, who went 30 yards down the left sideline for the score with 4:50 remaining in the game. The extra point attempt by Shea was also successful for two points,putting the Horns up 23-12.
The Big Horns had one last chance to score when they drove to the within four inches of the goal line, but fumbled on the ensuing play. The ball was recovered in the end zone by the Warriors to prevent the score.
Since the first game in school history two weeks ago the staff and parents painted the grandstands blue and white. The grandstands were full during the game on a breezy fall afternoon.
After the game Warriors coach Paul Waggoner stated that he thought his team played well but the Big Horns defense was excellent. He also said the Warriors had been contacted two weeks ago to fill in this game for St. Regis, who had been unable to field a team and cancelled the game.
Coach Waggoner stated that the Warriors play a number of games each year to help fill in the roster for other teams that have a bye or when a team cancels.
Big Horns coach Tony Beardsley was very pleased with the outcome because last week the Warriors had scored 30 points against the No. 3 ranked team in the state.
“I think our defense played awesome,” Beardsley said. Beardsley also said that his team had made great improvementover the last three weeks.
There have been “vast improvements, especially defensively, and on special teams, we still have a lot of work to do offensively, but the nice thing is the kids are learning how to play football,” he said. “Tackling is better, unbelievable change, and it’s all due to the kids’ effort.”
The Big Horns play next at Alberton under the lights on Friday night, September 23, 2011, after print date. Alberton is No. 8 in the state and is a conference opponent in the Western Six-Man division.
Coach Beardsley said the next game for the Horns is the first big challenge against a ranked opponent.
“It will be a huge challenge,” he said.