Beavers wreck Locomotives, 26-7

The Dillon Beavers posted a 27-6 victory over Laurel of the Eastern “A” Conference Friday night on the road to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Dillon’s non-conference slate includes three of the traditional top five powers in all of Montana Class A football and the victory over Laurel sets up what has become the last two years, a preview of the state championship game.  Dillon winds up the non-conference slate this Friday night against Billings Central in Dillon.  The teams have collided in consecutive state title games.

At Laurel, Dillon’s defense set the stage and the offense continued to evolve in a victory that didn’t come as easily as the score seems to indicate.

“We knew we were going to be in a dog fight,” said Dillon head coach Rick Nordahl.  “Laurel always plays tough defense and they always make you earn everything you get.”

Dillon’s defense assumed the same posture, denying Laurel a first down in three first quarter possessions.  The Beavers moved the ball in the first frame but faltered in Laurel territory.

“Basically, it was a stalemate at their end of the field for the first quarter,” said Nordahl.  “We could move the ball but couldn’t score, and they couldn’t get a first down.”

The Locomotives got on track early in the second quarter with the running game, moving from their own 8 to Dillon’s 10 with seven straight runs covering the 82 yards.  Dillon senior cornerback M.J. Simkins ended the possession with an interception at the 6 yard line.

The Beaver offense took off with a 27 yard completion from Dillon quarterback J.D. Ferris to Mick Paffhausen on their first play after the turnover.  The Beavers then went to the run, with fill-in running back Troy Scott and quarterback J.D. Ferris toting the ball six straight plays and 33 yards.  Ferris fired a 17 yard scoring pass to M.J. Simkins to cap the drive.  The kick missed and Dillon held a 6-0 lead.

Following an exchange of possessions, Dillon forced a Laurel fumble and All-State lineman Donovan Hucke recovered, late in the second quarter. With just 28 seconds left in the half, Ferris connected with Paffhausen on a 16 yard scoring toss.  Dillon’s two-point attempt failed and the teams went to intermission with Dillon leading, 12-0.

The Beaver defense held stout early in the second half, forcing laurel to a three downs and a punt.    Scott, normally a tight end, busted off a 70 yard touchdown run to give Dillon a comfortable 20-0 lead.  Dillon’s top two runners missed the game, one with an injury and the other to attend a wedding.  Troy Scott, an all-around player, with size and athletic ability, filled the bill out of the backfield with 134 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Ferris, a junior and first year varsity starter, run for 38 yards and threw for 160 ears on 17-of-33 accuracy and three touchdowns.  Ferris connected with Chance Kluesner on a 4 yard touchdown connection to complete Dillon’s scoring.

Paffhausen lifted the lid of Laurel’s defense with six receptions for a team-high 65 yards a touchdown and a 2-point conversion.  Scott hauled in three balls for 42 yards and Simkins added 41 yards a a touchdown on five receptions.

Defensively, Dillon forced and recovered two fumbles (Hucke and Nick Huber), and with Simkins’ interception won the critical turnover battle, 3-0.

Dillon outgained Laurel 347 to 230 in total yardage.

“The defense played good all night,” said Nordahl.  “This was a total team effort.  We had a lot of young kids out there, and realistically, we have to credit this win not only to the starters that did a great job, but also to those role players that came in and made some unbelievable plays.”

DILLON 27, LAUREL 6
Second Quarter
DIL – M.J. Simkins 17 pass from J.D. Ferris (kick failed), 6:45.
DIL – Mick Paffhausen 16 pass from Ferris (pass failed), 00:28.
Third Quarter
DIL – Troy Scott 70 run (Paffhausen pass from Ferris), 10:21.
Fourth Quarter
LAU – Herman 38 pass from Thompson (Martinez-Tillman kick), 11:05.
DIL – Chance Kluesner 4 pass from Ferris (kick failed), 2:17.