Dillon holds on for playoff win over Frenchtown

By 
J.P. Plutt
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Screen game

Dillon senior receiver Treyton Graham is dangerous on the edge in a one-on-one battle with a defender. With his team and the student section behind him, Graham looks to make yardage on a screen pass during Friday night’s Class A Playoff game against Frenchtown. J.P. Plutt photo

Looking for a crack in the D

Dillon quarterback Kee Christiansen looks for a crack in the goal line defense of Frenchtown behind the block of running back Kale Konen during Friday night’s Class A Playoff gmae. Christiansen scored five touchdowns in the game with four coming from one-yard out. J.P. Plutt photo

The Dillon Beavers looked as though they were ready to run the back-ups into the game when the third quarter ended Friday night at Vigilante Field and the Beavers enjoying a 35-7 lead over Frenchtown without an apparent threat ahead in the final frame of the first round Class A Playoff.

“Through three quarters we felt like we dominated a really good opponent,” said Dillon coach Zach McRae. “You take the flurry of points and you try to sift through what was going on. We are very thankful and grateful that we get to coach it this week. A host of trick plays and a host of turning our brains off a little bit on our DB crew.”

The Beavers fell victim to the deep trick play playbook of Frenchtown coach Dan Lucier. The Broncs scored on a hook and ladder play, a double pass and a long pass to pull within a score at 35-28. The Beavers stemmed the tide with a 43-yard touchdown run from quarterback Kee Christiansen with 2:09 left in the game to build Dillon’s lead back to multiple scores, 42-28.

In an amazing display of two minute offense, Frenchtown was able to get off 14 pass plays in under two minutes and score a final touchdown as time expired to account for the 42-34 score. There was no attempt at an extra point.

Dillon built their comfortable early lead off solid football with some explosive play making mixed in. Eli Nourse opened the game with a 90–yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

On their first possession, Frenchtown found success moving the ball with both the run and the pass, and moved into Dillon territory. On a fourth down and nine yards to go play from the Dillon 30, Broncs quarterback Eli Quinn launched a throw that came down in the hands of Dillon senior defensive back Caden Hansen. It was the first of two interceptions for Hansen.

The Beavers took possession on their own three-yard line and put together a time consuming scoring drive of 97 yards, capped by a one-yard scoring plunge from Christiansen. It was the first of five touchdowns for Christiansen on the night. The score came with just 1:22 left in the first quarter.

“We marched it down the field against a really good defense for a 16play, 97-yard drive,” said McRae. “That doesn’t happen very often. Every time we needed a yard, we got the yard we need. We’re just leaning on those big boys up front and they’ve come miles. We’re going to ask more from them this week.”

Just 12 seconds after the Dillon score, Frenchtown speedster Carter Wright, a 5-9, 160-pound senior, busted loose on a kickoff return and ran into the end zone to complete a 91-yard touchdown sprint.

Dillon responded through the second and third quarters with three touchdown drives all capped by Christiansen sliding into the end zone from a yard out. Frenchtown’s offense had been shut down and with Dillon cranking off 21 unanswered points to build a 35-7 lead, it looked as though the game was over and it was just a matter of running the clock out and beginning the celebration.

The Broncs dipped into coach Lucier’s bag of tricks to make a game of it down the stretch.

“We wanted to make sure we celebrated the win because is was a big playoff win,” said McRae. “We talked about it, we know, and we’re excited to fix it. We’re just fortunate we get to coach it.

“The Dillon Beavers put up our four fingers after the third quarter for a reason and we’ll be revisiting those, but we’re very proud of a dominating effort through three quarters,” explained McRae. For the game, Dillon’s defense held Frenchtown to just 68 yards on 25 carries. Frenchtown did their damage through the air and most of it came in that fourth quarter. The Broncs ultimately piled up 291 passing yards.

Dillon maintained offensive balance with 207 yards gained on the ground and 143 through the air.

Christiansen carried 22 times for 110 yards and five touchdowns, while Kale Konen toted the ball 14 times for 87 yards.

Christiansen carries the passing game with an accurate arm, particularly in the early going against Frenchtown. For the game he completed 15 of 22 throws for 143 yards and an interception.

Dillon has a slew of capable pass catchers, but the two who have separated themselves as game breakers are Eli Nourse and Treyton Graham. Both were key sprinters on last spring’s state championship track and field team (as was Christiansen). Nourse caught 5 balls for 53 yards and Graham 6 for 54. The run nor pass would work without the offensive linemen and a young group has come together to make Dillon a title contender.

“The offensive line has continued to get better,’ said McRae. It is all centered on (senior, captain) Jesse Hughes, he makes all the calls, he’s the anchor out there. Our two guards, Landen Peterson and interestingly Trapper Doering. Trapper (senior, 5-9. 260) should not be accomplishing what he is accomplishing if you take his height and weight. He is just a hard-nosed dude, he gets low and he knows how to work against the bigger guys.”

At the tackles are sophomore Taylor Handlos, 5-10, 210, and junior Ryleigh Plavonic, 6-2, 195, and McRae says they have come miles since the first of the year.

On the defensive side of the ball, three sophomores anchor the line at the nose guard that enables them to rotate and stay fresh.

“We have three sophomore nose guards that don’t see a lick of offense - Cole Dubois (6-0 250), and Misael Jiminez (6-1, 255) and William Ellis (5-11, 280) has been getting better and better every week.”

FRENCHTOWN 35, DILLON 42 First Quarter DIL - Eli Nourse 90 kickoff return (Casper Schretlen kick), 11:49.

DIL - Kee Christiansen 1 run (Schretlen kick), 1:22.

FREN – Carter White 91 kickoff return (Matt Kleinsmith kick) 1:10.

Second Quarter DIL - Christiansen 1 run (Schretlen kick), 5:43.

Third Quarter DIL - Christiansen 1 run (Schretlen kick), 7:14.

DIL - Christiansen 1 run (Schretlen kick), 1:22.

Fourth Quarter FREN - White 44 run (Kleinsmith kick) 11:52.

FREN - White 13 pass from Kellen Klimpel (Kleinsmith kick) 8:57.

FREN - Connor Michaud 50 pass from Klimpel (Kleinsmith kick) 6:19.

DIL - Christiansen 43 run (Schretlen kick), 2:09.

FREN - Klimpel 6 pass from Eli Quinn. 0:00.

TEAM STATISTICS DIL FREN First Downs 20 21

Rushing (att-yrds) 41-207 25-68

Passes (comp-att--int) 15-22-1 17-35-4

Pass yards 143 291

Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1

Punts-ave. 3-28.3 1-46

Penalties-yrds.. 8–65 7–48 Total plays-yrds. 63-350 60-359

DILLON STATISTICS Rushing - Kee Christiansen 22-110, Kale Konen 14-87, Tanner Mussard 2-4, Eli Nourse 3-6.

Passing - Christiansen 15-22-1-143-0.

Receiving - Cooper Anderson 1-18, Treyton Graham 6-54, Kale Konen 2-10, Eli Nourse 5-53, Caden Hansen 1-8.

Defense: Interceptions - Caden Hansen 2-3, Cooper Anderson 1-10, Eli Nourse 1-0. Fumble recovery - Jesse Hughes 1-0. Unassisted tackles - Treyton Graham 4. Assisted tackles - Gunner Wright 6, Toby Ingram 5, Kale Konen 5.

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