RPR Renegades end season with a dominating win

By: 
Mikaela Koski
Thursday, October 25, 2018

SCN photo by Mikaela Koski

Cougar senior Colton Getz reaches up for the ball in the end zone during the final seconds of the first half against Big Timber.  Getz caught the touchdown, but it was called back due to a Columbus penalty.

SCN photo by Ardona Robbins

Columbus quarterback Carson West evades a Herder defender during West’s Senior Night game last week.

The final two Stillwater County teams wrapped up the football season last Wednesday, Oct. 17.

REED POINT-RAPELJE

For the Renegades’ Senior Night game, RPR faced the Broadview-Lavina Pirates.

Broadview-Lavina received the opening kickoff, and the RPR defense held the Pirates to a quick four-and-out after forcing a turnover on downs. The Renegades’ first offensive play of the game resulted in a 20-yard touchdown pass from junior Lawson Steinfeldt to senior Rory Markle.

That touchdown was just the beginning for RPR.

The Renegade defense played tight against the Pirates, while the offense generated two more touchdowns in the opening minutes – on a 52-yard rush by senior Jeremy Boatman and on an 8-yard pass from Markle to senior Tristan Gieser. A pick-six late in the quarter gave RPR a 24-0 lead going into the second quarter.

In the second, the Renegades continued to roll, beginning the quarter with a safety on the first Broadview-Lavina possession. As halftime neared, the RPR offense added points to the board with a 27-yard reception from Steinfeldt to Boatman, followed by a successful conversion by Boatman.

The first offensive play by the Pirates after the touchdown was intercepted by Steinfeldt and returned for another Renegade defensive touchdown. Boatman made the two-point conversion to stretch the RPR lead to 42-0 going into the break.

The Renegades did not slow down in the second half. In the third quarter, Boatman added two more touchdowns on 35-yard and 13-yard runs, respectively; he was successful on the first two-point conversion.

During the final minutes of the game, the RPR defense sacked the Broadview-Lavina quarterback at the Renegade 1-yard line, forcing a fumble that Steinfeldt recovered and returned 79 yards for a touchdown.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, RPR had racked up a 62-0 victory.

Most of the Renegade scoring came off quick plays rather than long drives down the field, so RPR’s offensive stats are not as high as might be expected in a 62-point showing. In all, the Renegades had 180 yards of offense, 91 yards on the ground and 90 yards in the air.

The Renegades completed 7 of 15 pass attempts, while the Pirates completed only one pass. Steinfeldt was the leading passer for RPR, with 6 completions on 12 attempts for 62 yards and one touchdown.

Boatman played well during his last game as a Renegade, leading the team in both rushing and receiving. He ran for 99 yards on four carries (negative yardage by other players impacted the team’s total rushing yards) while scoring three touchdowns. Boatman caught three passes for 45 yards and one touchdown, and he also converted three two-point conversions. Markle had 32 yards receiving on three receptions.

The RPR defense held Broadview-Lavina to 41 yards of offense and only four first downs throughout the entire game.

Markle led the defense with 12 tackles, followed by Steinfeldt and junior Bud Ullery with six tackles each. Gieser had four tackles against the Pirates. Steinfeldt had an interception and fumble recovery, and freshman Keaton Heller had the Renegades’ only sack.

RPR Coach Charlie Hollenbeck described Wednesday’s game as the Renegades’ “outstanding performance of the year.”

He said you could see the team’s progress from the beginning of the year, and was especially happy to see the defense really step up to put points on the board and hold the Pirates throughout the game.

Hollenbeck noted that his team is fortunate to end the season with a win – not all teams are able to end the year on a high note.

For Boatman, Gieser, and Markle, Wednesday’s game marked the end of their high school football careers.

Hollenbeck was very impressed with his seniors this year, and he mentioned that he “can’t thank them enough for what they contributed” to the team. He described all three boys as gifted both on the field and in the classroom, and he said that it will “hurt to lose their leadership.”

All three were four-year starters, and Hollenbeck noted how the experience and leadership shown by the trio made them good role models for their younger teammates.

At this point, Boatman is planning to attend Montana State University, Gieser is headed to lineman school, and Markle is on his way to Montana Tech, according to Hollenbeck.

The Renegades ended the season with a 5-4 record, good for a fifth place finish in the Southern Division of 6-man football. RPR’s loss to Shields Valley during the first game the Renegades played this season ended up being the difference for RPR, as far as the postseason is concerned. Shields Valley ended the season with a 6-3 record for the final spot in the playoffs.

Hollenbeck has high hopes for next year. He noted how the Renegades continuted to progress, and by the end of this season were producing in areas of the game that were lacking at the beginning of the year.

There are currently six juniors on the RPR roster, and having such a large senior class next year is also promising, as they will bring experience with them. The potential for growth during the offseason is great for this group, and Hollenbeck said that bodes well for next season.

He explained that the Renegades will be coming into their own at a good time, as the three powerhouses in the division this year – Winnett-Grass Range, Roy-Winifred, and Bridger – will all be graduating many big playmakers this year, and so may be more inexperienced next season.

COLUMBUS

The Cougars also played in a Senior Night game on Wednesday. Columbus faced the Big Timber Herders, one of the best teams in the state.

The Herders scored first, methodically piecing together a drive down the field by successfully running the ball. The 28-yard touchdown reception and successful point after touchdown (PAT) kick gave Big Timber a 7-0 lead about three minutes into the game.

Columbus answered with their own drive down the field, and senior Colton Getz was able to reach the end zone on a 9-yard run.

At the end of the quarter, the Herder defense took advantage of an interception by returning it for a 29-yard defensive touchdown. Going into the second period, Big Timber had a 14-6 lead.

During the second quarter, the two offenses stalled. An interception by the Herders resulted in a missed field goal, and in the final seconds of the half Getz caught a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone, only to have it called back because of a Cougar penalty. Entering halftime, Big Timber held on to the 14-6 lead.

Coming out of the break, the Columbus offense was slow to get rolling again, and the Herders took advantage. About five minutes into the third quarter, Big Timber threw for a touchdown to stretch the lead to two touchdowns. The Herders intercepted a Cougar pass a couple minutes later and turned it into a pick-six, and at the end of the quarter, Big Timber found the end zone for a third time in the second half to give the Herders a 35-6 lead.

With two minutes left in the game, Getz ran for a 5-yard touchdown to put up the final points of the game. In the end, Columbus fell 35-12.

“Big Timber is legitimate,” said Cougar Coach Blake Hoge. “They have big guys up front, they’ve got speed, and they’ve got smart athletes sprinkled all over the field.

“We were able to come out and game plan a few things early, but they were able to wear us down and make adjustments as the game continued. Our guys played hard from start to finish, and that’s all we could ask.”

The two teams put up an identical amount of total offense, with 309 yards each. Columbus put up 181 yards passing and 128 yards rushing; Big Timber had 135 yards in the air and 174 yards on the ground.

It was turnovers, and penalties, that really plagued the Cougars Wednesday night. Columbus had five turnovers throughout the game – a fumble and four interceptions. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns by the Herders.

Hoge noted that the Cougars had to work all night to contain the Herder athletes, and unfortunately for Columbus, field position, turnovers, and penalties all fell in Big Timber’s favor.

Senior quarterback Carson West completed 18 of 35 pass attempts for 181 yards and three interceptions.

Getz led the running game with 59 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. West rushed for 41 yards on 18 carries. Senior Dylan Raihl led the Columbus receiving corps with 91 yards on 9 catches. Getz had 32 yards receiving, and junior Trey Stampfel had three catches for 30 yards.

Hoge was glad that the team was able to spread out the passing game among several receivers, and he noted that “our line did an admirable job going up against their huge defensive line” to allow Columbus to generate about 300 yards of offense.

The Cougar defense was led by junior Keegan Goddard with 7 tackles (3 solo, 8 assists), followed by junior Tommy Campbell with 6 tackles (3 solo, 6 assists), including 2 tackles for loss (TFLs).

Three Columbus defenders had 4 tackles – West (3 solo, 2 assists), Getz (2 solo, 4 assists), and senior Jason Smith (1 solo, 6 assists). Getz had a TFL, and junior Rob Ivankovich had a TFL and a sack.

The Cougars ended the season with a 2-4 conference record and 4-4 overall record. Three Forks also ended the season with the same records, but Columbus fell to the Wolves 44-40 at the end of September. This head-to-head win gave Three Forks the tiebreaker – the final place in the playoffs for the Class B Southern Division.

Hoge described this season as a “crazy year” because “we were right there for two of our losses and if we could flip just a couple of plays we would be playing on Saturday.”

He feels the boys gave it their all week in and week out throughout the season, and he was glad to see the team continue to improve as the season progressed, what he believes “is a testament to our captains and senior leaders.”

“Things weren’t perfect,” Hoge said, “but I’m proud of our guys and the season we were able to put together. I’m going to miss seeing these guys everyday in practice.”

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