Need for speed: Savage Heat scorch Gardiner

by Chuck Bandel Valley Press
| September 16, 2020 12:00 AM

In six-man Montana high school football, speed is key.

Fortunately for the Hot Springs Savage Heat, speed is in ample supply.

That was very evident Saturday afternoon when junior running back Kyle Lawson turned on the afterburners as Hot Springs made quick work of Gardiner, beating the Bruins 51-0 in Gardiner.

After a road trip of more than 350 miles, Hot Springs lit up the scoreboard in the first quarter, jumping to a 24-0 lead.

Lawson and the Heat opened the scoring extravaganza when he powered into the end zone for a touchdown from seven yards out. His successful PAT gave Hot Springs an early 8-0 lead and they were off the races from there.

In six-man football, where kicking PATs is usually rare, a successful kick try equals two points.

With the Savage Heat defense completely stifling the Bruins, Hot Springs soon had the ball back and scored again as quarterback Jack McAllister ran for a four-yard score. Another Lawson kick boosted the lead to 16-0.

The offensive fireworks continued later in the first quarter when Lawson sprinted to pay dirt from 19 yards out and once again converted the PAT kick.

Leading 24-0 heading into quarter number two, the Heat defense continued to dominate the outmanned home team, and a short time later with the ball back in Hot Springs control, senior Lincoln Slonaker added to the pending route when he scored on a six-yard run. This time the PAT was no good.

Lawson kept his strong day going a short time later when he broke loose on a 30-yard scoring romp, upping the Hot Springs lead to 36-0.

Before the half ended Lawson hauled in a 16-yard TD pass from McAllister which, with the successful PAT kick from Lawson, gave the Savage Heat a dominating 44-0 lead at the half.

The second half was played by mostly younger, reserve players. Despite giving youth a chance to get some game action, Hot Springs defense continued to stymie the Gardiner offense.

In the third quarter, Syrrius Robinson added to the lopsided lead when he plunged over from one yard out. Quincy Depoe, one of several promising underclassmen on the Heat roster, then ran in for the extra point.

With a 51-0 lead and the clock running non-stop except for changes of possession due to the Montana 35-point mercy rule, both teams battled to a scoring draw.

The win moved Hot Springs to 2-0 on the virus-shortened schedule. Gardiner fell to 0-2. Hot Springs next game is this Friday at home against league foe Noxon.