Going into the last three weeks of the regular season, Hot Springs finds itself in a four-way tie for first place in the Western Division of Class C 6-man football.
The Savage Heat built a 38-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 54-7 win at Gardiner last Saturday. In the meantime, West Yellowstone handed White Sulphur Springs its first divisional loss, 52-32, last Friday. Hot Springs, West Yellowstone, White Sulphur Springs and Valley Christian each have one divisional loss.
Hot Springs is focused on taking a step closer to the state playoffs when they host Sheridan this Friday at 7 p.m. The Panthers lost to Noxon 55-14 last week.
“We’re back in the mix to get that first seed,” Hot Springs head coach Jim Lawson said. “It gives us a chance … We need to keep winning and who knows what these other teams might do.”
He expects Sheridan to be up for the challenge this Friday.
“They’ve gotten better the last year or so. I’m sure going to come out and give us their best game,” Lawson said.
With a very long bus ride ahead, the Savage Heat departed for Gardiner on Friday and stayed overnight in Bozeman.
“They were able to get off the bus and play well,” Lawson said. “I think it was out best effort of the season. The kids looked really sharp, they executed offensively,” Lawson said, scoring on their first four possessions against the Bruins. “We shut them down, we had really good tackling. We were able to pressure their quarterback a little bit. We had a good pass rush.”
Gardiner tried to mix the run with the pass, but Hot Springs was up for the task to stop the Bruins.
The Savage Heat extended their 38-0 halftime lead to 54-0 after three quarters.
HOT SPRINGS junior quarterback Brandon Knudsen was on target all afternoon, throwing five touchdown passes. Tyler Carr caught passes of 23 and 43 yards for scores. Kyle Lawson hauled in a 20-yard scoring pass, and Bert DeTienne caught another for 17 yards and a TD. Hot Springs’ last touchdown came on a 52-yard aerial from Knudsen to his brother Tyler.
Tyler Knudsen had touchdown runs of 10 and 15 yards. Luke Waterbury scored on a 3-yard run.
Tyler Carr was 2-for-5 on conversion kicks. Carr and Waterbury each had a conversion run.
Tyler Knudsen led the Savage Heat defense with two sacks and he had 10 tackles. Jack McAllister and Brandon Knudsen each had an interception, and Carr recovered a Gardiner fumble.