MILES CITY — The 24th annual Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl was all Montana, as the Treasure State took care of the North Dakota All-Stars in record fashion Saturday.
The Montanans set a Badlands Bowl points record in thumping the boys from the east 65-0 at Connors Stadium. That surpassed the previous high from when Montana hung 55 points on the board in 2004.
Sidney’s Dawson McGlothlin got the scoring started with a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown to open the floodgates for what was a dominant performance on both sides of the ball for the Montanans.
Montana saw strong play from its two options at quarterback. Billings Senior’s Nate Dick, a Griz football recruit, accounted for three touchdowns. He found Bozeman’s Lance McCutcheon and fellow future Griz Mitch Roberts of Missoula Sentinel for passing scores and ran for another. Bozeman’s Callahan O’Reilly also found his high school teammate McCutcheon for a 23-yard touchdown and also ran for another.
“It was exciting scoring that touchdown. I turned around and saw a mob of blue and my teammates made it easy on me. Have to give all the credit to them,” McGlothlin said. “Everyone on here is a playmaker and it’s just a matter of time before something happened and it just happened to be me.”
Montana forced a total of six turnovers, three of which turned into scores. Montana had four interceptions alone in the third quarter. Helena Capital’s Marcus Welnel, who will also play at Montana, took one back from 62 yards and Dillon’s Troy Andersen also took one to the house from 43 yards. Senior’s Jake Orvis and Glacier’s Tadan Gilman also had interceptions in the third quarter while Patrick O’Connell of Glacier recovered a fumble in the second quarter.
“It was a complete honor and this entire week has been so fun,” Dick said. “All these guys are just freak athletes and it’s been such a privilege to be teammates with them and they just went out and performed like they have all year.
“I’m just really proud of them and how we came together as Montana and represented how we should. I’m just thankful, really.”
Welnel was named Montana’s defensive MVP while McCutcheon was the offensive MVP.
“It’s nice to see (Welnel) on my side and not chasing after me trying to kill me,” Dick said.
“Same,” Welnel laughed. “This is the best talent from around the state and these kids are absolutely amazing and to be on their team is a lot of fun.”
Montana improves to 18-6 in the Badlands Bowl series over North Dakota.
After Orvis’ interception ran the score up to 51-0, the North Dakota coaches asked the committee if a running clock could be installed. Andersen then scored on a 2-yard run before getting his interception return just before the third quarter ended to put the score at 65-0.
“It was awesome. We’re playing with the best kids in the state and it’s just pretty cool,” said Andersen, who along with O’Reilly, McCutcheon and Gilman will head to Montana State next year. “Our defense was stout tonight and our offense was clicking and it was a lot of fun to see the best kids in Montana put on a pretty good show.”