Monday, September 27, 2021
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Thompson Falls remains perfect with rout of Mission

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | September 15, 2021 12:00 AM

Three games and three convincing wins, including Friday night’s 63-6 rout of Mission, into the Montana 2021 8-man football season and the Thompson Falls Blue Hawks are on a good track.

The latest team to succumb to the Blue Hawks potent offense and stingy defense, the Bulldogs battled the undefeated Thompson Falls squad for most of the first quarter.

But as football fans know, there are four quarters to your average football game.

Against the visiting Bulldogs, Thompson Falls employed a version of the “spread” offense, as in they spread the scoring load to several different players, including senior running back Ryan Bucher, who got the home team on the scoreboard first when he scooted in from nine yards out to give the Blue Hawks a 6-0 first quarter lead.

Thompson Falls’ junior quarterback Elijah Ratliff added to the total a short time later following a Mission punt when he plunged into the end zone from four yards away. Ratliff threw for a successful two-point after touchdown attempt to lift the Hawks to a 14-0 lead a short time later.

Before the first quarter ended, the Bulldogs scored their first and only touchdown when QB Kellen McClure hooked up with Charley Adams on a 12-yard passing touchdown. The PAT try was no good and at the end of the first quarter TFalls was up 14-6.

From that point on it was all Thompson Falls on both sides of the ball as their explosive offense cranked out points while the defense threw a shutout against the Bulldog offense.

Senior all-stater Trae Thilmony got the second quarter off to a good start when he capped a Blue Hawks drive with a touchdown burst from two yards out. A short time later after another stop by the defense, junior running back Keinen Williams ran past the outclassed Mission defense for a 12-yard touchdown, giving the home team Blue Hawks a commanding 28-6 lead with most of the second quarter remaining to be played.

Thompson Falls used a fumble recovery and an interceptiion, the latter by senior Nathan Schraeder, to pad their now insurmountable lead and start the Mercy Rule clock running non-stop due to the 30-plus point lead.

Bucher got his second TD of the half with a five-yard burst to make it 36-6, then Hayden Hanks got in on the scoring act with an eight-yard running touchdown to wrap up first half scoring and give the Blue Hawks a 44-6 lead.

Reserves would see plenty of playing time rest of the way in the game, which was delayed an hour due to heavy smoke from wildfires that eventually eased enough for school officials to decide to proceed with the game.

Bucher scored his third touchdown of the game in the third quarter on a 7-yard scamper to up the Blue Hawks lead to 50-6. A short time later Ratliff added his second running touchdown with a drive-capping three-yard jaunt up the middle and a 57-6 lead for the home boys.

The fourth quarter was relatively quiet compared to the scoring extravaganza that took place earlier in the contest. Ratliff added a five-yard touchdown on the ground for his third of the game, capping scoring for the night.

In addition to his exploits running the ball, Bucher had six tackles, six assists, four sacks and four tackles for loss while playing on the defensive side of the ball.

Schraeder also had six tackles for the game and added five assists, while Thilmony had four tackles, seven assists, four sacks and four tackles for loss.

The win kept the Blue Hawks unbeaten on the young 2021 season at 3-0.

They face a crucial challenge this Friday at home when they entertain the also unbeaten and 3-0 Bobcats at 7 p.m.