By Rob Everingham
Its been 31 years since the Chinook Sugarbeeters met the Missoula Loyola Rams in a football game.
Last time, it was to decide a state championship, this time, the quarterfinals of the Class B football playoffs. Loyola won the first game by a touchdown. This time, the Rams claimed victory in a 27-12 win over the Beeters.
At Chinook, neither team could get any offense going in their first drives, but in Chinooks second drive quarterback Mike Maddox kept the ball and ran it 31 yards for the score. Justin Friede missed the extra point, leaving Chinook up 6-0. Loyola could do nothing with the football on their next drive and turned the ball over on downs.
On Chinooks second play, Jimmy Steyee fumbled the ball and the Rams recovered. Six plays later, Missoulas Tanner Kahler caught a screen pass from quarterback Eddie Stack and ran it 21 yards for the touchdown. Kahler tacked on the extra point on his second try, after a roughing the kicker penalty, and the Rams led 7-6. From this point, the Rams would keep the lead the entire game.
Missoula found the end zone again in the second quarter as Brad Grutsch ran the ball in from two yards out, capping off a 14-play drive. The Rams had already kicked a field goal in a fourth down situation, but another roughing the kicker call gave Loyola a first down. The Rams were unsuccessful on their two-point conversion, leaving them up 13-6 at the half.
To start the second, Loyola could not move the ball and on an apparent fourth-down punt, Kahler kept the ball on the fake and ran it 26 yards and into Beeter territory.
Seven plays later, it was again Grutsch on the ground for the Rams as he picked up the needed four yards for the touchdown. Stack connected with Kahler on a two-point conversion, and the Rams led 21-6.
Chinook then took the ball and moved down the field, but were stopped at the Missoula 15-yard line where Friede missed on the 32-yard field goal attempt.
Loyola was forced to punt on its next drive, but Coleman Smith came up big for the Rams as he picked off a Maddox pass.
Again, the Rams could not move the ball and went four-and-out. A Chinook touchdown after five plays was called back on a penalty. Chinook then took the ball and found the end zone as Mason Roseberry caught a 20-yard Maddox pass. The two-point conversion was no good, leaving Chinook down 21-12.
Chinooks Mark Liddle came up with a fumble recovery, but Stack returned the favor as he picked up a Chinook fumble. From defense to offense, it took Stack just three plays to move the Rams into the end zone as Grustch broke a run for 34 yards. The Rams went for two, but the run failed. Chinooks next drive ended in just two plays as again Stack came up big for the Rams and intercepted a Maddox pass. The Rams took a knee to end the game.
Loyola head coach Steve Pinsoneault said he was pleased with the effort his team put forth and referred to the win as a total team effort. Pinsoneault said his team controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and that was a big factor in the win.
The Rams face No. 1-ranked Baker Saturday. Baker shut out Columbus 35-0 to advance.
Glasgow upset unbeaten Malta and Huntley Project downed Frenchtown in other Class B quarterfinal action.