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Big Horns and Tigers trade touchdowns in epic homecoming matchup

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LPHS junior George Helms records four scores, Simms’ Colby South goes for five

Freshman Ebe Grabow catches a 60-yard touchdown on the Big Horns first offensive play of the second half. PHOTO BY JASON BACAJ

By Jack Reaney STAFF WRITER

BIG SKY—Homecoming turned into an offensive shootout on Friday night, as the Lone Peak High School Big Horns and Simms High School Tigers took turns scoring on breakout plays to combine for 102 total points.

Big Horns junior George Helms led the charge on offense, scoring four total touchdowns including a 61-yard rushing score and a 40-yard air strike in the first half. Senior linebacker and running back Pierce Farr produced on both sides of the ball, with a 50-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter. The Tigers roared back in the second half, chipping away at their 28-14 halftime deficit to tie the game at 36. From then on, it was punch-for-punch until Lone Peak turned the ball over early in the fourth quarter, tied at 48. The Tigers took the lead and their defense took control, stopping two Big Horns’ drives as the clock burned.

“I mean, more than 100 points total,” Farr said after the game. “It speaks a lot about our offense, not a lot of our [defense]. Just let up some big plays.”

Farr said it was probably the biggest game of his career, and that it feels like just yesterday he was a freshman in the football program.

“Just enjoy it while you can,” he said, on his role as a team leader, being the only Big Horn senior. “It’s fun, but it only lasts so long.”

The game began with sloppy play from both teams. On the first play from scrimmage, Lone Peak quarterback Juliusz Shipman threw an interception on a short pass to the left. On the next play, Tigers quarterback Hudson Rohrer fumbled the snap but fell on the ball to retain possession, but the Tigers were able to draw first blood on a run by Austin Naude.

Naude would score twice in the game, but it was running back Colby South that matched George Helms’ big-play ability for the Tigers.

Speedy senior Colby South beats coverage for a third quarter touchdown. PHOTO BY JACK REANEY

The Big Horns caught a break early in the first quarter, as South scored on a sweep to add to the Tigers’ 8-6 lead. However, a holding call removed the touchdown and on second-and-17, George Helms intercepted a pass along the left sideline to capitalize on the penalty.

Helms stayed on the field and joined the Big Horns offense, lining up in the backfield and taking a handoff on second down. Before Helms even cleared his offensive line, one Lone Peak student began shouting among the murmurs of the student section crowd:

“He’s gone! He’s gone!”  

After a 61-yard footrace to the house, Helms was indeed gone, giving the Big Horns a 14-8 lead.

Lone Peak took advantage of another mistake by Simms to begin the second quarter.

After a Big Horns three-and-out, the Tigers blocked Shipman’s punt, but the Big Horns recovered a fumble by the Tigers’ return man, converting on an awkward fourth down in their defensive half.

The Big Horns used their second life efficiently. Farr carried a dump pass for 15 yards, Shipman scrambled for another 25, and then Farr received a pitch and bulldozed into the end zone on third-and-goal.

After forcing another quick turnover, Helms took a 40-yard reception to the house and gave the Big Horns a 28-8 second quarter lead.

Helms bursts through the Tiger defense on his 61-yard touchdown scamper. PHOTO BY JASON BACAJ

That’s when South woke up for the Tigers.

He gained separation and scored a 62-yard receiving touchdown, and after Grabow intercepted a pass to kill the Tigers’ drive before halftime, South began the second half with a kickoff return for a touchdown to close the gap to 28-22 after a successful two-point conversion.

Grabow answered with a 60-yard touchdown reception on a crossing route, and the Big Horns converted the point after attempt to take a 36-22 lead.

The Tigers put the ball back into South’s hands, scoring quickly on a short field after the Big Horns failed an onside kick.

The Big Horns couldn’t produce on the following drive, but they were spared by another costly penalty against Simms. South’s punt return touchdown was flagged and recalled for a block in the back penalty. This time, it didn’t stop Tigers offense, as South ran for a touchdown plus a two-point conversion. Six minutes into the third quarter, the Tigers tied the score at 36.

Shipman ran for a 22-yard gain to put the Big Horns back in scoring position. He then escaped pressure, ran to his left, and threw across the field to Helms streaking across the end zone.

“Moving around the pocket is big in eight-man [football], because you got a lot of width. Moving around the pocket creates opportunities for our quick receivers,” Shipman said after the game.

Two minutes later, South snapped back with another touchdown to tie the score at 42.

As the third quarter came to an end, Farr channeled Derrick Henry, running downhill through tackles for a powerful score. He received a lateral from the scrambling Shipman, then stiff-armed three defenders for a physical 50-yard touchdown effort.

“I was in the backfield, and I knew we needed something,” Farr said. “I was kind of quiet on offense most of the night, and that kind of woke me up. It was definitely a highlight of my career.”

Pierce Farr fights his way up the middle for a 50-yard score, giving the Big Horns a 48-42 lead. PHOTO BY JASON BACAJ

Those would be the last points for the Big Horns, who failed to score in the fourth quarter.

After tying the score at 48 and chewing up a lot of the remaining time on a seven-minute drive, South plowed through traffic for a goal line touchdown on third down. He finished with five total touchdowns on the night.

“Obviously there’s a lot of disappointment,” Farr said after the game. “[Simms] is a really good team. I mean, they worked us in the second half.”

With only 1:35 on the clock, Shipman took the field looking to lead a game-saving drive. A touchdown would tie, and two-point conversion would likely win the game.

Shipman missed Helms, who had separation on a go-route, and launched another deep pass incomplete. His third down pass was tipped at the line and caught by Helms for nine yards, and Shipman converted on fourth-and-1 to keep the Big Horns alive.

Near midfield, the Big Horns had 28 seconds to score.

Shipman missed intended receivers twice, and Helms didn’t see Shipman’s third down pass just over his shoulder. On fourth down with 15 seconds remaining, Shipman was sacked and the Tigers took over.

“I kinda didn’t [keep my composure], not gonna lie,” Shipman said about the final possession. “I kind of fell apart. I was just missing reads, couldn’t escape pressure. You know, just a lot of mistakes. It’s a pretty mental game.”

Frustrated by the outcome, Shipman commented on the homecoming atmosphere:

“Everyone came out, and we got to play football,” he said. “We fell short, I guess it happens. But it was a great environment.”

Quarterback Juliusz Shipman looks for extra yards during first half scramble. PHOTO BY JASON BACAJ

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