Cougars stomp Spartans 41-6, shoot into state rankings

By: 
Mikaela Koski
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Photo by Todd Preece

Below: Junior linemen Ricky Preece (57) and Rob Ivankovich (66) lead the way for senior running back Colton Getz (18). Getz rushed for 77 yards last Friday in Baker.

Photos by Todd Preece

Left: Senior wide receiver Dylan Raihl jukes past a Baker defender.

Below: Nate Palmer, a senior running back, takes off for the end zone through a hole created by Preece and Ivankovich. Palmer had three touchdowns against Baker.

Last weekend, the Columbus Cougars accomplished something Cougar football teams have struggled to do for eight years – beat the Baker Spartans. Not only did Columbus come out on top last Friday, the win was a dominating 41-6 showing.

Columbus jumped to an early lead in the first quarter behind an 8-yard touchdown run by senior Nate Palmer. Later in the period senior quarterback Carson West connected with senior receiver Dylan Raihl for a 61-yard passing touchdown. Palmer ran in the conversion for a 14-0 Cougar lead at the end of the first period.

In the second quarter, Columbus continued to add to the scoreboard. Senior Colton Getz and Palmer each ran in 5-yard touchdowns; Getz ran for the successful conversion following Palmer’s score. Baker was able to score once before the half, but the Cougars still owned a convincing 28-6 lead going into the break.

Columbus kept rolling in the third quarter. Freshman Trey Johannes scored on a 4-yard run, and Palmer rushed for a 28-yard touchdown, his third of the night, followed by a successful kick by senior Kolton Gladney. That kick would cap the evening’s score at 41-6, as neither team scored in the final quarter of the game.

As a team, the Cougars generated 401 total yards while holding Baker to only 164 yards. The Columbus running game was extremely successful, putting up 277 rushing yards compared to Baker’s 59 yards. The Cougar offense was able to generate 19 first downs while the defense also did its job, holding the Spartans to only 4 first downs and shutting down each of Baker’s 11 third down attempts.

West completed 6 of 10 passes for 124 yards and one touchdown, his longest completion of the night being the 61-yard touchdown to Raihl.

That pass was also Raihl’s longest reception of the night. He led the Cougars offensively against Baker, with 120 receiving yards and one touchdown on five receptions, as well as 32 rushing yards on six carries. Raihl also added some yardage on special teams, returning three punts for 63 yards.

The two seniors – Palmer and Getz – led the Cougars in rushing. Palmer had an impressive three touchdowns and one two-point conversion on the night, rushing for 75 yards on eight carries. Getz had 77 yards with one touchdown and one conversion off nine carries. Johannes ran for 45 yards off 10 carries, including one touchdown, and West had 44 yards rushing on five carries.

Getz also played an important role on defense, recording the only Cougar sack of the night along with 3.5 tackles (1 solo and 5 assists), including one tackle for loss (TFL). Sophomore Tommy Campbell had a big night defensively as well, with 4.5 tackles (2 solo and 5 assists) including two TFLs. Palmer recorded one TFL on 3.5 tackles (2 solo and 3 assists).

Head Coach Blake Hoge noted the significance of Friday’s win, saying, “This is the first time in quite a while Columbus has been able to travel halfway across the state and come away with the win in Baker.”

He credited the big guys up front for facilitating the team’s success last week, explaining that “for the second week in a row, our success stems from our linemen and their ability to control the line of scrimmage. Our skill guys will be the first to tell you that it makes things easy when we’re hitting our blocks and opening up running lanes.”

With the win in Baker, Columbus has earned a spot in the state-wide rankings, currently sitting in the number six spot for Class B. The Cougars join two other Southern Division teams in the top ten – Townsend (Broadwater) is fourth and Big Timber is tenth.

The Cougars will kick off conference play at their home opener this Friday, and it will be a tough game against Townsend.

“They’ve got a solid offensive scheme and an opportunistic defense,” Hoge mentioned. “We’re going to have to put everything together for our first home game on the season.”

PARK CITY

The Panthers opened up the season, and conference play, last Saturday with a big victory over Lone Peak.

Park City came out strong right out of the gates, scoring four times in the first quarter. Junior Carson Baker ran for 23 and 8-yard touchdowns to kick-start the Panther offense at the start of the game. About halfway through the first period, junior Garrett McMillen caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from senior Connor McNeil, and the successful point after gave Park City a 19-0 lead. McNeil kicked a 23-yard field goal to cap off the first quarter of play.

In the second quarter Park City kept its foot on the gas, adding three more touchdowns. The first was a 37-yard touchdown pass from Baker to McNeil, followed by a successful point after. Baker ran in a 30-yard score, and freshman Taetin Kindsfather had a 7-yard touchdown run to put the Panthers up 41-0 entering halftime.

McNeil ran for a 33-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and freshman Jacob Gauthier threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to freshman Mason Rathbun in the fourth to close out the game for the 55-0 Park City victory.

The Panthers had 340 yards of offense – 195 on the ground and 145 in the air. The Park City defense held Lone Peak to only 157 yards – 40 rushing and 117 passing.

Head Coach Mark Rathbun felt his team played well for the first outing of the season, noting that “the defense did a nice job on bending but not breaking, and the offense played fairly well.”

This Friday is the big cross-county match-up for Park City and Absarokee in Absarokee. Rathbun explained that the Panthers will “need to clean up a few things as we prepare to fight like cats and dogs” in the match-up against the Huskies.

ABSAROKEE

The Huskies fell last week in a tough game against number-five ranked Joliet.

The J-Hawks jumped out to an early lead, and by halftime Absarokee found itself in a 42-0 hole. The Huskies were able to put points on the board with a 38-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter. A 40-yard pass gave Absarokee 12 points in the third period; Joliet was also able to score two touchdowns in the same time period. In the fourth quarter the Huskies reached the end zone one more time, as did the J-Hawks, for the 70-18 final score.

Wyatt Hayes led the Huskies with 68 passing yards, completing 4 of 9 attempts and throwing for one touchdown. Tucker Sullivan led the Absarokee receiving corps with 65 yards on three receptions with one touchdown. As for the Husky run game, Simon Hanson led with 77 yards on 10 carries, including one touchdown. Zacc Degele racked up 55 yards and one touchdown on nine carries.

Colton Young led the Absarokee defense with three tackles and one interception. He was followed by Dalton Helmuth, who had two tackles including one TFL.

Head Coach Chris Gunderson noted that the Huskies did not tackle as well against Joliet as the team did in its opener against Chester-Joplin-Inverness, missing some key opportunities to make big stops. He also highlighted the fact that Absarokee struggled to score when in the red zone. An injury to a key player was a blow to the Huskies against Joliet.

Looking forward to this week’s game against Park City, Gunderson said, “We have to play to our ability this weekend and it should be a much better game.”

REED POINT-RAPELJE

The Renegades fell to Shields Valley last Friday, 57-25.

RPR will face Fromberg this Friday in the Renegades’ home opener in Reed Point.

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