The Loyola Sacred Heart football team used a strong defensive effort to steamroll in its State B playoff opener Saturday. The Rams jumped on Huntley Project for two touchdowns in the first quarter and cruised to a 20-0 win. "We played some serious defense," Loyola coach Todd Hughes said. "I loved the way they played today. We've got most our guys healthy again they were playing fast. It was fun to see them put four quarters together." Nick Mitzel scored the two first-quarter touchdowns and finished with 130 yards rushing on 24 carries. Teammate Nolan Iverson scored in the fourth quarter and finished with 113 yards rushing on 18 totes. Defensive end Izaac Sessums was credit with having a "great game" with six sacks. The Rams advanced to play at Manhattan next Saturday.
Brandon Knudsen was responsible for six touchdowns in Hot Springs' 57-18 win over visiting Harlowton in the first round of the 6-man state playoffs. Knudsen, who ran for 125 yards and passed for 163, scored on runs of 28, 12 and 23 yards, added a 72-yard punt return for a score, and tossed scoring strikes of 4 yards to Kyle Lawson and 50 yards to Jack McAllister. Lawson had nine catches for 68 yards and McAllister added 18 tackles and an interception on defense. Johnny Mysse scored all three TDs for Harlow, one on a 68-yard kickoff return. Hot Springs will host Westby-Grenora in the second round.
Eureka rushed for 468 yards in the Lions' 65-24 win over visiting Baker in the first round of the Class B football playoffs. Chet McCully had the bulk of those yards, carrying 18 times for 331 yards and five touchdowns. Jake Kindel added 74 yards on seven carries and scored three touchdowns. Jory Miller led Baker with 96 yards rushing on 21 carries and added a score on a 75-yard kickoff return.
Libby advanced with a 49-28 home win over Butte Central. Key to the outcomes was a surge of three Logger touchdowns in the second quarter, giving the team a 28-14 halftime lead. Dawson Young ran for four touchdowns for Libby, who will play at Laurel next Saturday.
Bigfork saw its season come to an end with a 28-25 home loss to Red Lodge. The Vikings trailed by 11 in the fourth quarter when Kainin Lafontaine delivered an electrifying 89-yard kickoff return and Patrick Wallen added a two-point conversion reception. However, the visitors held on for the win.
St. Ignatius saw its season come to an end with a 34-24 road playoff loss to Park City. Kellen McClure threw two touchdown passes and Jedi Christy caught them both for the Bulldogs.
Clark Fork advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Class C, 8-man playoffs with a 58-21 win over Shelby in Superior. The Mountain Cats exploded for 30 points in the first period. Bryan Mask threw five touchdown passes for Clark Fork. Kyler Francis was on the receiving end of three of those.
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Noxon saw its season come to an end with a 38-29 home playoff loss to Roy-Winifred. Rylan Weltz threw a touchdown pass and caught two TD passes for the Red Devils.
Flint Creek advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Class C, 8-man playoffs with a 46-40 road win over West Yellowstone in double overtime. Kade Cutler ran for six touchdowns for the Titans. They will play at Great Falls Central next Saturday.
In 6B volleyball action, Florence topped Anaconda 25-14, 25-21, 25-7 to win the district championship. Sarah Hopcroft had nine kills and Halle Christopherson had 12 assists to lead the Falcons. In the first round of play, Florence beat Deer Lodge 25-7, 25-16, 25-19. Christopherson had 16 assists and three aces for the Falcons, while Amy Fjell led the Wardens with three kills, 10 assists and two blocks. Anaconda's path to the championship ran through Missoula Loyola, who the Copperheads beat 10-25, 25-13. 25-20, 25-21. Sam Clevenger had five kills, five aces and five blocks for the Breakers. in the third place matchup, Loyola downed Deer Lodge 25-19, 25-16, 29-27. The Breakers were led by eight kills from Clevenger and 17 digs from Laney Denning.
Thompson Falls took the 7B District Championship with a 25-22, 25-19, 27-25 win over Eureka. In a first-round matchup, the Blue Hawks beat St. Ignatius 27-25, 25-16, 19-25, 25-17. In the other tournament-opening match, Eureka beat Bigfork 25-11, 25-15, 23-25, 25-12. The Bulldogs won the third-place game over Bigfork 26-24, 13-25, 25-17, 25-23.
Columbia Falls downed Browning in three sets, 25-10, 25-17, 25-13. Kiera Brown led the Wildkats with 10 kills, while Kamber Brown dished out 21 assists. Gianna Vickers was the leader for the Indians, finishing with five kills, two aces and seven digs.
Corvallis swept Frenchtown 25-16, 25-8, 25-8 to move to 12-1 on the season. The Blue Devils got 10 kills and nine digs from Madeline Gilder as well as 21 assists from Hannah Martin. Rylee Belcourt led the Broncs with two kills and two aces.
Hamilton lost to Butte Central 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 on Saturday afternoon.