Mission Bulldogs beat Horsemen, 52-6
Plains running back Tucker Foster gets ready to stiff arm a Mission defender for yardage. (Chuck Bandel/Valley Press)
By CHUCK BANDEL
So much for the dog’s bark being worse than its bite.
On a cold, wind-swept afternoon on the gridiron adjacent to Plains High School, the Bulldogs’ bites were painful and plentiful.
Despite enough yellow laundry flapping in the gusty skies to fill a backyard clothesline, the Mission High Bulldogs overwhelmed the host Plains Horsemen on their way to a 52-6 Montana 8-man football victory.
Both teams committed multiple penalties during the contest, but it did not slow down the Bulldogs’ offense. The visitors from St. Ignatius got on the scoreboard first after stopping Plains’ initial drive, with help from an untimely holding penalty on the Horsemen.
After taking over at the Plains 38 yard line, the Bulldogs put together a quick drive that ultimately put the ball on the one yard line. On the next play, Bryce Umphrey plunged across the goal line to give Mission a 6-0 lead with 8:20 remaining in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mission was flagged for an out of bounds kick, with Plains electing to have a re-kick, giving them the ball on their own 26 yard line. That drive was snuffed out with the help of a false start penalty, giving the ball back to Mission on downs.
The Bulldogs marched quickly downfield behind a long run by quarterback Kellen McClure. With the ball resting on the Plains 15 yard line, senior running back Layne Spidel sprinted through the Horsemen defense for a score. Another missed point after touchdown put the Mission lead at 12-0.
Plains next drive looked promising but once again resulted in giving the ball back to Mission on downs, but not before the Horsemen were penalized for holding along the way.
The second quarter got underway with Mission on the verge of capitalizing on a series of long runs that moved the ball to the Plains 20 yard line.
The Dogs went for it on fourth and three and were rewarded when McClure scooted around end for a 20-yard touchdown just seven second into the second quarter. This time the PAT was good and gave the visitors a 20-0 lead.
Plains got the ball back on its own 15 after the kickoff but two false start penalties and a pair of untimely dropped passes once again halted the drive and handed the rock back to Mission.
A long pass from McClure to Canyon Sargent, good for 54 yards and a first down on the Plains four yard line was topped off on the next play when McClure threw a low line drive pass that was snared by a diving John Komotios for a touchdown. Another successful PAT try boosted Mission’s lead to 28-0 with 4:38 to play in the first half.
Following the kickoff, Mission defenders trapped Horsemen quarterback Tristan Subatch in the end zone, forcing an intentional grounding call that by rule rewarded Mission with a two-point safety. As part of the safety rule, Plains was forced to kick the ball back to Mission.
That kickoff was returned to the Plains 30, where on the next play Komotios hauled in a pass in the end zone despite the ball being tipped by a Plains defender. After a good PAT try, Mission held a 38-0 lead and started the clock running without stopping due to the 35-point mercy rule for Montana football.
With the second quarter rapidly disappearing, Plains mounted a drive downfield but it was halted by an interception as time ran out.
Mission got the ball back to open the second half but Plains stopped the drive, again with the help of a yellow flag. The Bulldogs punt put Plains in control at their own 25-yard line, but they could not move due to another false start infraction and two dropped passes.
This time when the Horsemen punted Tristan Subatch’s kick was blocked giving the ball to the Bulldogs on the Plains 12. A few plays later McClure hooked up with Dustin Mitchell on a three-yard TD pass that ultimately gave Mission a 44-0 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs added to their lead as time expired in the third quarter when Javon Bolen picked off a Subatch pass and rumbled 58 yards into the hosts end zone, boosting their lead to 52-0.
Plains did manage to find the end zone in the final quarter when Subatch found Garth Parker on a 10-yard pass and run touchdown.
The loss dropped Plains to 2-3 on the year. Up next for the Horsemen is a Saturday night road game to Superior to take on the 5-2 Clark Fork squad.
The win improved Mission, which lost its first three games of the year, to 4-3.