By Brandon Walker EBS EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
Big Horns corral Mustangs
BIG SKY – It was sunny with a slight breeze as the home crowd settled in to watch the Big Horns take on the Mustangs on Oct. 12 and they didn’t have to wait long for something to cheer about. The Lone Peak High School football team came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 10 seconds into the game, en route to a 50-6 victory over Ennis. This was the first time the Big Horns have been able to beat the Mustangs on the gridiron in the program’s nine year history.
LPHS Head Coach Adam Farr was ecstatic for his players after the victory. “I was really excited for the players seeing as it’s the first time we’ve ever beat Ennis in football since the inception of our program. It was a great feeling, especially for the seniors,” Farr said. “They’re going to enjoy that for the rest of their lives, the seniors in particular, after having been thumped by Ennis so many times before. They won’t soon forget that one.”
On Ennis’ first play from the line of scrimmage, senior Frankie Starz intercepted Ennis sophomore quarterback Brand Ostler and returned it to the end zone for an early Big Horn lead. Starz was then able to find junior Kole Maus to convert the two-point attempt, bringing the score to 8-0. “That pick-6 by Frankie on their first offensive play of the game obviously set the tone and gained a lot of confidence for the rest of the team. They might have been lacking that since we’ve never beaten Ennis in the past,” said Farr.
Ennis came right back and was able to find the end zone as Ostler connected with junior wideout Ian Swanson two minutes later. Ennis could not convert on the two-point try and that was as close as things would get. Lone Peak went on to score 42 unanswered points to secure the one-sided victory.
The trio of Starz, senior Austin Samuels, and freshman Pierce Farr was a force to be reckoned with all night, leading the way for the Big Horns. Starz finished the game with four touchdown passes, an interception returned for a touchdown, along with a rushing touchdown. Samuels was on the receiving end of three of Starz’ touchdown throws and had an interception as well. Farr had a receiving and rushing touchdown to cap off the offensive flurry for Lone Peak.
Lone Peak put up a stout defensive performance as well, forcing four turnovers in the game. Besides the Starz and Samuels interceptions, seniors Chaz Paduano and Ryker Potter each recovered a fumble, helping the Big Horns hold the Mustangs scoreless for the final 46 minutes of play.
“We just had great pressure from the line collapsing in on a lot of those plays,” Farr said. “Also, we blitzed more than we’ve ever blitzed, I think at least this year … which put a ton of pressure on the quarterback while allowing the DBs to make plays on the ball because there were some errant throws due to that pressure from both the line and the linebacking core blitzing.”
Adding to the excitement on the day for Big Sky residents, the Ophir Miners middle school football team defeated Ennis as well, by a score of 32-6.
Lone Peak wins thriller on the road versus Twin Bridges
TWIN BRIDGES – Athletes and fans alike live for the epic moments that play out during sporting events. From the go-ahead goal as time expires to the walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning, those moments live on and are remembered for years to come. The Lone Peak football team had their own iconic moment on Oct. 18 as they stole a win away from the Twin Bridges Falcons, 18-16 with seconds remaining on the game clock.
After trailing all game, with 48 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter, Twin Bridges took the lead 16-12 on their second passing touchdown of the game. This set the stage for Lone Peak seniors Frankie Starz and Austin Samuels. LPHS Head Coach Adam Farr described the impromptu play calls on the final drive in dramatic fashion: “the entire ensuing drive we didn’t call a single play that was in our playbook or on his [Starz’s] wristband. Each play he would run over to me and we would basically make the play up on the sideline as far as the route combos and who was where.”
After the Big Horns quickly made their way downfield, it all came down to the final 10 seconds of play. Starz heaved up a jump ball, into a crowd of Falcons defenders, for Samuels and the 5’8” receiver was able to come down with it, putting Lone Peak ahead for good, 18-16. “Frankie threw it up and there were like five guys on Austin. He extended himself, catches it, taps two toes in with seconds left in the game to take the lead,” Farr said.
This all came after the Big Horns were leading 12-0 entering the fourth quarter. A receiving touchdown by freshman Isaiah Holst, the first of his varsity career, and a rushing touchdown by Starz had Lone Peak in the driver’s seat. “As a coach, I think I feel more relieved than anything. The players are obviously ecstatic. There’s more than just Frankie to Austin on that drive obviously,” Farr noted. “But, if there’s two guys you want the ball in their hands in a situation like that, it’s those two.”
The victory was another first for the Big Horns, as they had previously never defeated the Falcons. With the win, Lone Peak also has a chance to put themselves in playoff contention. Now with a record of 3-4, the Big Horns will need to beat the undefeated West Yellowstone Wolverines when they host them for Senior Night on Oct. 26 in their last regular season game in order to create a three-way tie for the final playoff spot.