By Chris Samuels EBS Contributor
ABSAROKEE/BIG SKY – The Big Horns closed out their second season as an 8-man football team with a road win Oct. 13 and an Oct. 18 loss at home against the Ennis Mustangs, a team that could very well reclaim the state championship in November.
On Oct. 13, the Big Horns earned a hard-fought victory against the Absarokee Huskies. The Big Horn defense was stifling, holding the Huskies scoreless in the first half. Lone Peak wasn’t able to get on the board during the first half either, and the score stood 0-0 heading into halftime.
The Big Horns got it together in the second half with senior receiver Howie Robin hauling in two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Frankie Starz. Absarokee notched its only score of the game with a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Senior receiver Liam Germain put the game out of reach with a touchdown run and junior kicker Milosz Shipman converted the PAT bringing the final score to 21-6.
“The defense really stepped up against Absarokee,” said LPHS assistant coach Dan Wade. “It was our best effort of the season.”
Leuzinger and senior defensive end and linebacker Jackson Wade led the team in tackles. Other standout defensive efforts included a fumble recovery by senior linemanvan Redmon and an interception by sophomore linebacker Austin Samuels, who snagged his fifth interception of the season, earning him a spot in LPHS’s record books. He’s now tied with Eddie Starz, who graduated last year.
Five days later, Lone Peak hosted the Ennis Mustangs under the lights for the Big Horns’ last regular-season game of the year.
Lone Peak honored its seven seniors in a pre-game ceremony by bringing them out on the field with their families. Leuzinger and Robin played two seasons with the Big Horn football squad, and Zach Cone has worn a Big Horn jersey for three years. Lone Peak seniors with four years include Redmon, Germain, Wade and Holden Samuels, who spent this season recovering from a knee injury he sustained at football camp this summer. Each senior was honored for his accomplishments on the field and in the classroom.
The game was dominated by the Ennis Mustangs, who are the defending state champions. The Big Horns scored early when Starz found Robin for a long touchdown. Robin has the distinction of scoring a touchdown in all nine games this season, and his TD marked the offensive highlight for Lone Peak—it was all Ennis after that. They closed the game with a 50-7 win.
Although they ended the regular season with a loss, the Big Horns’ 6-3 record secured their first 8-man football playoff game in the program’s young history. The Big Horns play the Flint Creek Co-op on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 1 p.m. in Drummond. Flint Creek Co-op is a joint team comprised of Drummond High School and Granite County High School in Phillipsburg. They’re the No. 1 seed in the western 8-man conference. If the Big Horns bring home a win, they’ll continue on to the second round of state playoffs on Nov. 4.