Hot Springs stayed in position to contend for a Class C 6-man Western Division title with a convincing 50-18 home-field victory over the West Yellowstone Wolverines last Friday night.
The Savage Heat take a 1-1 divisional record into this Friday’s key divisional game at Noxon. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
White Sulphur Springs has the Western Division lead with a 2-0 record. Their wins were over Hot Springs and Noxon.
“Both of us played White Sulphur tough,” Hot Springs head coach Jim Lawson said. “Noxon is playing good football right now. I think whoever makes the fewest mistakes will probably win.”
The Savage Heat fell behind West Yellowstone early 6-0, then scored three unanswered touchdowns in the opening quarter. Hot Springs converted on two kicks by Tyler Knudsen for a 20-6 lead.
“We gave up a touchdown, then we settled in defensively,” Lawson said. “We stopped their running game pretty effectively. All the kids played well.”
Brandon Knudsen threw four touchdown passes in the Hot Springs win, three of them to Tyler Carr and another to Kyle Lawson.
In that first quarter, Carr hauled in a 35-yard scoring pass and Lawson caught a 35-yard TD aerial. Carr also scored on a five-yard run.
HOT SPRINGS padded its lead when Brandon Knudsen hit Carr with 21- and 29-yard scoring passes on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter. Tyler Knudsen converted twice and the Savage Heat led 36-6 at halftime.
Tyler Knudsen ran 30 yards for a touchdown and Luke Waterbury had a one-yard dive for a score in the third quarter. Knudsen kicked the PAT after the last Hot Springs score.
The Wolverines scored a touchdown each in the third and fourth quarters.
Coach Lawson said Carr had a big game, and Tyler Knudsen ran the ball well.
“Our younger kids who are doing some good things for us. We’re working on trying to keep improving,” he said.
Lawson calls West Yellowstone, which finished second in the division last year, a good football team.
“They’re fast and they run the ball really well. We knew it was going to be a good test for us,” he said.
BRANDON KNUDSEN led the Savage Heat defense, intercepting two passes. Kyle Lawson recovered two West Yellowstone fumbles.
Hot Springs had just one turnover, a lost fumble.
Coach Lawson knows Noxon has some potent weapons on offense.
“They have the (Levi) Brubaker kid who’s a good athlete,” he said. “He’s a good runner.”
And taking care of the football and limiting penalties are keys.
“You just can’t make mistakes against good teams,” Lawson said. “Those top two teams get home playoff games. You’ve got to make the playoffs and get a home playoff game if you can.”