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Savage Heat storm back in 65-22 win over W. Yellowstone

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | October 26, 2022 12:00 AM

Given the scope of at least a few of the “upsets” that took place this past weekend in the local high school football realm, it would have easy to understand why there may have been a collective “gulping” sound in the stands at Hot Springs High Saturday afternoon.

Charlo lost in volleyball and St. Ignatius routed previously unbeaten Superior earlier in the week, so when visiting West Yellowstone took a six point lead in the first quarter it may have been time for some fans to reach for the antacid chews.

But this, they would have quickly remembered, is six-player football featuring one of the most explosive offenses in the game...and there’s still more than seven minutes to play in the opening quarter.

Those second thoughts would have been right on target as the Hot Springs Savage Heat shook off the temporary deficit on their way to a convincing 65-22 win over the visiting West Yellowstone Wolverines Saturday afternoon in the Spa City.

In fact, the Heat snuffed out the Wolverine lead just a few minutes later when they tied the game on a 62-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Nick McAllister to a wide open teammate, a play that knotted the score at six.

Not much later, the Heat had tacked two more touchdowns on the scoreboard, one on a long run by Weston Slonaker, the other a 40-yard TD reception by Slonaker from McAllister.

So much for a brief lead in this game that amounts to organized backyard football played by guys who wear uniforms in front of folks who like popcorn and hot dogs.

In fact, the rout was on.

By the end of the first quarter, Hot Springs held a 26-6 advantage over the boys from West Yellowstone.

Then the big fella got rolling and it was not a good thing for the Wolverines.

Senior Garth Parker, the team’s lone senior who was honored before the game for being a senior, as in the ONLY senior, began breaking off long runs in chunks. His eight-yard touchdown scamper with just under nine minutes to play in the second quarter put the home team up 33-6 on a blustery Fall day that featured some scattered snowflakes with a light rain.

And while the Wolverines would tack on two second quarter touchdowns of their own, both complete with two-point after touchdown conversions, the damage by Parker, McAllister, Slonaker and Johnny Waterbury had already been done.

The score reached 52-22 at halftime as the Hot Springs defense began shutting down the visitors, often giving the ball to the Heat offense in good field position.

Along the way Hot Springs returned a kickoff for more than 50 yards and a touchdown to open the second half, then added one last score on a short, drive capping run by Waterbury from three yards out.

Those scores accounted for the 65-22 final total as neither team scored during the final 12 minutes of play.

The win boosted Hot Springs to 6-2 overall and 6-0 in Western 6-player football play. It also meant the Heat won the regular season championship by one game over Sanders County rival Noxon, whose only conference loss this year was to Hot Springs.

That put both teams into this weekend’s playoffs where the Heat will take on Chester-Joplin-Inverness who sported a 5-2 overall record in 2022. The game will be played this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Hot Springs.

Noxon will face Valier in a first-round game set for this Friday night at 6 p.m. in Valier. Valier, Hot Springs fans will remember, came to Hot Springs and upset the Heat 19-13 two games into this year’s schedule.

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