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Superior suffers first loss at St. Ignatius

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

It would be hard to say there’s a better 8-player high school football team in Montana if you look at the 58-0 win by top-ranked St. Ignatius (aka Mission) over the fourth-ranked Superior Friday night in St. Ignatius.

Both teams entered the game with unblemished 7-0 conference records to go with their lofty ranking by at least one state group. And both the Bulldogs and Bobcats came into the much-anticipated clash with offenses averaging more than 60 points a game this season.

But it would most likely be just as difficult to say the victorious Bulldogs are 58 points better than Superior’s Bobcats, who fell to tenth in the latest ranking following the unexpected blowout loss to St. Ignatius.

Oh, the Bulldogs proved they are as advertised, an 8-player team worthy of the No. 1 moniker and a legitimate threat to win it all this year.

The senior-laden Bulldogs feature a cacophony of quick, skilled players who have made life miserable for teams throughout the Western 8-player conference.

However, finding someone who predicted a 58-0 outcome would be an arduous undertaking indeed.

And yet, 48 minutes after it began, the St. Ignatius scoreboard did not lie. It was 58-0.

Canyon Sargent, the Bulldogs’ lightning quick running back with arguably the coolest name in Montana sports, ran for four touchdowns and quarterback Kellen McClure threw a pair of long touchdown passes, one short aerial TD and ran for another as the Bulldogs built an early lead and never looked back.

Along the way they shut down the vaunted Superior offense and kept standout senior running back Decker Milender out of the end zone throughout the night in recording the shut out.

Milender appeared to have finally broken free from the swarming St. Ignatius defenders in the second quarter when he swept around the left corner and sprinted 43 yards for a touchdown.

However, that score was negated by an offensive penalty, keeping the zero up on the scoreboard under Superior.

The host team scored first midway through the opening quarter when Sargent crashed through the Superior defense and ran 15 yards for a TD. The two-point after touchdown try was good and the top-ranked Bulldogs were up 8-0.

Before the first quarter came to an end, McClure tossed a 39-yard scoring pass to Issac Umphrey and Sargent ran for another two-point conversion, giving St. Ignatius a 16-0 lead as time ran out in the first 12 minutes of play.

The second quarter turned out to be the Sargent Show, as he exploded for touchdowns from three, 15 and 11 yards out. The assault helped the home standing Bulldogs take a commanding 36-0 lead at the half, all but sealing Superior’s fate for the game.

Umphrey opened the second half by scoring on a short, five-yard TD flip from McClure to make it 44-0 Bulldogs heading into the fourth quarter.

St. Ignatius would add two more scores in the final frame, one a four-yard scoring plunge by McClure, the other a 15-yarder from McClure to wrap up the night’s offensive show while the defense choked off drive after drive to keep their shut out intact.

"We were stunned as well," said Superior coach Jeff Schultz of his team's game vs St. Ignatius. "We got punched in the face, now what will we do is the question? Hopefully we get back up and take out a lot of frustration on the next four opponents."

The win boosted St. Ignatius to 8-0 in conference and overall play on the year, while Superior tasted defeat for the first time, falling to 7-1 in conference play and 8-1 on the season.

Both teams qualified for the upcoming 8-player post-season tournament, which begins this weekend at sites throughout the state.

Superior plays Forsyth this coming Saturday at 1 p.m. in Superior.

St. Ignatius will also play a home game against the third-seeded team from the East 8-player conference which appears to be Circle.

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Superior's Jaxson Green against Mission. (Rob Zolman/Lake County Leader)

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Superior's Decker Milender against Mission. (Rob Zolman/Lake County Leader)

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