Columbus defeats Red Lodge in season opener

Mikaela Koski
Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Columbus Cougars kicked off the 2018 football season the right way last Friday with a commanding 36-7 victory over the Red Lodge Rams.

Columbus drew first blood with a 3-yard touchdown run by senior Colton Getz in the first quarter. Senior quarterback Carson West ran in the Cougars’ second scoring play of the night from the 1-yard line, and the successful two-point conversion that followed gave Columbus a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Red Lodge put points on the board in the second quarter with a rushing touchdown, but Columbus answered when West connected with senior wide receiver Dylan Raihl for a 19-yard touchdown. Entering the break, the Cougars held a 22-7 lead.

Columbus added 14 points in the second half. Getz and fellow senior Nate Palmer each ran in a touchdown for six and seven yards, respectively. Both scores took place in the third quarter.

The Cougars held the Rams scoreless for the second half of play for the 36-7 final score.

As a team, Columbus racked up 396 total yards on the night, more than doubling Red Lodge’s 181 yards. The Cougars earned 22 first downs compared to the Rams’ nine first downs, and Columbus only turned the ball over once while forcing three Red Lodge turnovers (2 interceptions, 1 fumble).

West went 10-for-15 with 142 passing yards. His longest pass was 46 yards, and he did not throw any interceptions.

Raihl led the receiving corps with 127 yards on seven receptions, including one touchdown and one 2-point conversion. He pulled in a 46-yard grab for the longest catch of the night for Columbus.

Getz led the Cougars in rushing with 79 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. His longest run was 22 yards. Raihl followed Getz with 60 yards on nine carries, and West racked up 50 yards on 10 rushes with one touchdown.

The defense was led by junior Keegan Goddard with four tackles, two assists, one sack, and one tackle for loss (TFL). Freshman Trey Johannes had three tackles and five assists, along with a sack and a TFL. In addition to a sack and TFL, junior Tommy Campbell also had a fumble recovery. Interceptions were recorded by senior Dylan Wyllie and junior Rob Ivankovich, who also had two TFLs.

Although Red Lodge is typically a conference game for Columbus, some shuffling in the division alignments of several schools led to Red Lodge shifting to the eastern division while Columbus stayed in the southern division.

Cougar Head Coach Blake Hoge was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We had a great showing for our first game and I’m proud our guys were able to showcase all the hard work they put in during the offseason,” Hoge said.

“Offensively, much of our success was due to our big guys blocking up front. We put a lot on their plate this year in terms of different blocking schemes and I’m happy with the early results,” Hoge explained. “Defensively, it was an all-around team effort.”

He noted that the three senior captains – Raihl, Getz, and West – led the offense, and Hoge commended the Cougar secondary for shutting down the Ram passing game, allowing only 10 yards in the air the entire game.

“It was strange playing Red Lodge as a non-conference game, but it’s always nice to come away with the win on the first try,” Hoge added.

Columbus travels to Baker this Friday for the last non-conference game for the Cougars this season.


The Huskies began the season with a non-conference match-up against Chester-Joplin-Inverness (CJI). Due to air quality problems, last Saturday’s game was held in Harlowton instead of Chester as originally scheduled.

After a hard-fought game, Absarokee came up short, falling 28-14.

“The team played well this weekend against CJI,” said Husky Head Coach Chris Gunderson. “It was a good season opener to gauge where we are and what adjustments need to be made.”

Absarokee will jump into conference play this week with a game at Joliet on Friday.


The Renegades started the season with a conference victory due to a Plenty Coups forfeit.

This week, RPR travels to play Shields Valley on Friday for another conference game.


The Panthers will kick off their season this Saturday afternoon with a home game against Lone Peak. This is a conference match-up.