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Pioneers, Longhorns look to keep moving on


November 8, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Garrett Diekhans and the Fort Benton Longhorns host Park City in the Class C quarterfinals Saturday afternoon in Fort Benton.

The 2019 football season has been quite the ride for many teams, especially the Fort Benton Longhorns, who are still cruising on an undefeated record.

The Longhorns have moved forward into the 8-Man quarterfinals, where they will face the Park City Panthers Saturday at home. The Panthers are 8-1 in their season. Park City is the South's No. 2 seed. In the regular season, the Panthers were electric and beat many teams including Chinook and Ennis, two teams that Fort Benton faced this year, as well.

In a first-round match against St. Ignatius, Park City made many big plays to move forward to battle against the Longhorns. Both the rushing and passing-game for the Panthers did work against the Bulldogs.

Quarterback Carson Baker threw two touchdowns and ran another score in himself against St. Ignatius. Running back Garrett Zimdars caught a touchdown pass and had a rushing touchdown, too. Park City's offense kept the Bulldogs defense on their toes with a razzle dazzle trick play, as well. The Panthers do not mess around on offense and will look to give the Longhorns some trouble. On top of that, Park City will aim to quell the Fort Benton offensive attack, too.

But Fort Benton is a team that has been explosive all fall. The Longhorns have played some good teams, too.

On the Fort Benton offense, quarterback Garett Diekhans has been quite the player. He has made many scores off of either deep passes or QB keeps. Against GFCC, Diekhans had one passing and two rushing touchdowns. Longhorn running back Jace Thompson has been a problem for defenses, too. Thompson is a tough and physical runner, often being the one to push for good yardage or first downs.

The Fort Benton defense compliments the offense, as well. Against Great Falls Central, the defense scored two touchdowns off a fumble and a strip. The Longhorns defense is responsible for shutting out two teams and keeping the majority of teams they have faced to 20-points or less. That sort of stat is no joke in 8-Man football.

With Fort Benton and Park City being fairly close teams in the sense of a gameplan, Saturday will be quite the game. Both sides will be looking to advance to the Class C semifinals, where the winner faces either Fairview or Thompson Falls next week.

The Longhorns (9-0) kick off against the Park City Panthers (8-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. in Fort Benton.

Another undefeated local team will step into the state quarterfinals this weekend, too. Though, this time the game will be in the 6-Man playoffs. After a first-round victory against the Richey-Lambert Fusion, 51-16, the Big Sandy Pioneers will face the South's No. 3 seed, the Roy-Winifred Outlaws Saturday in Big Sandy.

Big Sandy is making a strong case for a championship title run this season, and has reached the quarterfinals three straight years. And after a big victory over the Fusion last Saturday, it is one step closer to that goal. But the Pioneers will have to get through the Outlaws to move on to the semifinals.

Last Saturday, Roy-Winifred pulled away with a win over the West's No. 2 seed, the Noxon Red Devils, 38-29. Led by running back Ryan Russel and quarterback Tyler Fordyce, Roy-Winifred averaged just more than 50 points for multiple games and have multiple weapons that can rattle a defensive scheme. The offense for the Outlaws has proven to be electric and help the team earn the five-wins they have.

In the case of the Pioneers, their season has been nothing short of perfect. Big Sandy has proven impossible to take down.

But what really stands out for the Pioneers is their offense. Over the last three seasons, Big Sandy has been on a meteoric rise and this season, its offense is a force to be reckoned with. Star running back Kade Strutz has been a good heap of the Pioneers' attack and is a tough guy to take down. Against Richey-Lambert, Strutz scored four different times, one of them being a 41-yard pick six and the other three being rushing touchdowns. Brock and Parker Proulx have been great contributions to the Big Sandy offense, too. Last week, Brock Proulx ran for 79-yards for six in the third quarter and Parker Proulx caught a three-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Roth.

The Pioneer defense has been deadly this season, too. Big Sandy has shut out one team, held four teams to just six-points and have only given up 28-points at most. Big Sandy has a very explosive team that has yet to be beaten and being back on the home-field again Saturday will be a good feeling, too.

The game against will be a big one and the Pioneers will kick off against the Outlaws Saturday at 1 p.m. in Big Sandy. The winner advances to the Six-Man semifinals against either Jordan or Bridger.


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