It’s “do or die” for Noxon in Class C 8-man football going into the last week of the 2018 regular season.
If the Red Devils bring home a win over Valley Christian in Friday night’s game at Alberton, Noxon earns the No. 4 seed from the Western Division in the state playoffs. The loser’s season is over. Friday’s game kicks off at 7 p.m.
Noxon notched nine touchdowns last Friday night at home against West Yellowstone, but the Red Devils were outscored by the Wolverines, 82-72. West Yellowstone led 52-50 at the end of a very wild first half.
The Red Devils got within 74-72 on a 10-yard touchdown run by Cade VanVleet and Levi Brubaker’s conversion kick. But Mac Hauck threw his sixth TD pass of the evening, his fourth scoring aerial to Sammy Coffin in the second half alone, and Hauck added the PAT kick for an 82-72 Wolverines lead.
“We still had a chance, but we kind of ran out of time,” Noxon head coach Bart Haflich said of the final minutes. “They got a first down and we couldn’t stop the clock.”
The coach knows his players realize the importance of putting four good quarters together for Friday’s game against Valley Christian. Both teams are 4-3 in the division.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity,” Haflich said of the “win and you’re in” situation. “Valley Christian has done some good things this year.”
VALLEY CHRISTIAN will mix the run with the pass, and they like to run a spread formation. “We’ve struggled defending the pass, and West Yellowstone ran the ball on us a ton,” the coach said. “They have a couple of injuries, but either way they’re going to be a solid team. It comes down to who wants to get in (the state playoffs) and it’s on their home field. It’s going to be a good game.”
There were 19 touchdowns scored in the Noxon-West Yellowstone contest, and neither team scored more than twice in a row.
Noxon senior Levi Brubaker had another huge game. He had 458 total yards, including kickoff returns, and accounted for 54 points. Brubaker run for six touchdowns and caught a pass from Jeriko Smith for another. He also kicked six two-point conversions.
VanVleet, a freshman, ran for more than 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Noxon had just two turnovers, an interception and failure to cover an onside kick. That was after the first Wolverines score, and they scored on that possession.
“Defense was paramount. However, you’re got to get a couple of stops,” Haflich said. “Unfortunately, they (WY) got one or two more than we did.
“Our offensive line is blocking well and we’re moving the ball. We have to find a way to get a few more stops (on defense).”