Beavs blitz Belgrade in state semi

Dillon Beaver football fans enjoyed a toe-to-toe slugfest Friday night at Vigilante Field, at least in the early going. The hometown Beavers and visiting Belgrade Pathers exchanged haymakers throughout the first quarter of the Montana Class A semifinal playoff game before Belgrade staggered and Dillon rolled to a 48-14 victory. The win sends Dillon to a third consecutive state title battle with Billings Central.

“They are an explosive team, and they have a lot of good athletes on their team,” said Dillon coach Rick Nordahl of Belgrade. “By far, we had to play our best football game to come out with the win.”

In a span of less than three minutes early in the first quarter, Dillon scored, Belgrade answered and Dillon scored again to set a high octane tone for the playoff game.
The Beavers scored on their first possession of the game with Colton Riebe, capping the 72-yard drive with a two yard run. Riebe carried four times for 30 yards on the possession.

Belgrade answered with a score of their own, keyed by their own running attack.
In an evening of explosive plays, senior captain Mick Paffhausen continued his highlight reel post-season with a 93-yard kickoff return to immediately push Dillon back into the lead. Football fans were barely settled into their seats of the score stood 14-7.

Late in the first quarter, Belgrade advanced to Dillon’s 26 and failed on a fourth down conversion attempt. Two plays later, Paffhausen gathered in a J.D. Ferris pass and sprinted 74 yards for his second consecutive touchdown. Paffhausen booted his third point after of the night to give Dillon a 21-7 lead.

After holding Belgrade to three downs and a punt, Dillon mounted a13-play, drive that fizzled at Belgrade’s 6-yard line. Dillon failed to score on four attempts inside the 10-yard line.

The Beavers stopped Belgrade on yet another fourth down attempt near midfield and two plays later senior Troy Scott gathered in a pass on a combination route and galloped 59 yards for the first of his two touchdowns.

“Troy was outstanding all over the field, both offensively and defensively,” said Nordahl. “He is just an animal when he gets the ball in his hands.”

Dillon led, 27-7. Belgrade, despite playing extremely well, faced a must score situation. They put together an 8 play drive, helped along by a fourth down conversion, and scored with three seconds on the game clock to go to halftime trailing 27-14.

Belgrade received the second half kickoff and with a successful drive could have narrowed Dillon’s lead to one score. Disaster struck Belgrade on the kickoff.

“Kyle Finch had a great hustle play to start the second half,” said Nordahl of a situation where the Belgrade return man bobbled the kickoff near the goal line. “Kyle blew the kid up on the 1 (yard line) and recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.”

Scott hauled in his second touchdown pass late in the second quarter and Jason Ferris completed the scoring with a short scoring run early in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, Dillon allowed 360 yards of offense with their starters in the entire game.

“I give Belgrade credit,” said Nordahl. “They had a bunch of different sets on offense and our kids did a good job of adjusting to it.”

Dillon’s defensive stars were numerous at all three levels – linebackers Scott, Gabe Chilsom, Carson King, and Parker Tezak were particularly active, up front, Christian Coiner, Donovan Hucke, and Ethan Tatarka made an impact, and in the secondary, J.D. Ferris, MJ Simkins, and Paffhausen made an impact.