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LPHS football claims commanding victory over Cascade

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Following a rainy day in Big Sky, the clouds parted and LPHS played under blue skies in the Big Horn Coliseum. PHOTO BY GABRIELLE GASSER

By Gabrielle Gasser ASSOCIATE EDITOR

BIG SKY – Eight Lone Peak High School football players stand ready to receive the opening kickoff against the Cascade High School Badgers in the Big Horn Coliseum. The ball soars down the field and is caught by junior George Helms who sprints back up the field toward the end zone. As Helms dodges tackles and picks up yardage, Big Horns fans yell and run down the sideline, cheering him on until he scores a touchdown, mere seconds into the game. 

It’s Friday night, Sept. 19, and the Big Horns are facing off against the undefeated Badgers who are ranked sixth in the state. Parents and students crowd the bleachers and sidelines sporting neon garb for good sportsmanship as they cheer the boys on. As the sun drops behind the surrounding mountains so does the temperature, but the athletes and fans remain fired up, bolstered by the success of the game’s opening play. 

Following the Big Horns’ first touchdown, Cascade added two of their own to the scoreboard to claim a first quarter lead. The game is fast-paced with play moving quickly up and down the field leading Jeremy Harder—announcer for the evening and technology teacher—to quip that, “it’s almost turning into a soccer game.”

The Badgers and the Big Horns battle hard, keeping the score close in the second quarter. As the game goes into halftime Cascade leads by two points, 28-26. 

Following the half, the Big Horns charge out and reclaim the lead with a touchdown and two-point conversion, bringing the score to 34-28. The Badgers, however, respond late in the third quarter with their own touchdown and two-point conversion to again take yet another two-point lead 36-34.

With a little under three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Big Horns score a touchdown and add a field goal, tallying the game’s largest lead—11 points. Victory seemed like it was in the bag, but the Badgers respond late in the fourth quarter with a touchdown on a deep pass to the end zone.

Though the Badgers fought hard to close the gap, the Big Horns prevailed, sealing a thrilling 47-42 win.

Junior George Helms (7) returns the opening kickoff from the Badgers for a Big Horn touchdown. PHOTO BY JASON BACAJ

The Big Horns’ efforts for the evening were led by Helms’ two kickoff returns for touchdowns, an interception and several big runs. Quarterback, junior Juliusz Shipman, threw multiple touchdowns, including two dramatic ones late in the second half to take the lead for good.

“The boys really stuck with it and showed maturity and composure,” head coach Dustin Shipman wrote in an email to EBS. “We constantly talk about the next play. We can’t control the last play; we can only control our execution on the next play.”

Senior Pierce Farr also had a great game, Shipman said, running the ball hard and showing up defensively. Shipman added that the special teams played “extremely well,” accounting for 13 of the Big Horns’ points as well as preventing the opponent’s special teams from scoring.

“Ultimately, I was pleased with the efforts of all our players, the lineman played well and all of our players are improving each week,” Shipman wrote.

Moving forward, Shipman said he’d like to see the team improve on fundamentals including: Making good tackles, running precise routes, blocking our assignments, making good throws and focusing on making plays.

Shipman said the Big Horns earned their win over Cascade as a team. 

“They had fun and played football, which is what we ask of them each week,” he added.

Up next on the schedule, the Big Horns travel to Seeley Lake on Sept. 23 to face off against the Seeley-Swan High School Blackhawks. 

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