Give the lines a big hug. The offensive line created big holes and the defensive line squashed the run, as Columbia Falls pounded Miles City in the quarterfinals of the state A playoffs at home Saturday, 48-8.
Quarterback Austin Green had a stellar game, with 158 yards rushing and 121 yards in the air as he scored four rushing touchdowns and threw for another. On defense, he had two interceptions, including a pick in the end zone to kill a Miles City drive in the first quarter that seemed to take the air out of the Cowboys on a snowy day at Satterthwaite Memorial Field.
All told the Cats rushed for 368 yards. In addition to Green, Colten McPhee had 18 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown; Logan Kolodejchuk had four carries for 50 yards; and Easton Sempf had five carries for 43 yards to lead the rushing attack.
On the receiving end, Ben Windauer had four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown; Kolodjechuk had three catches for 23 yards; Drew Morgan had one reception for 23 yards and McPhee had an 18 yard reception to round out the receiving leaders.
Green said they just stuck to the game plan.
“We executed just like the coach wanted us to,” he said, noting they had the manpower up front to handle Miles City.
Columbia Falls took an early lead 7-0 on a McPhee 16-yard touchdown run up the middle to put the Cats on the board.
Miles City would put a drive of their own to the Cats red zone, but Green, who masked his coverage, fell back and picked off Miles City’s throw to the end zone.
He then orchestrated a 13-play scoring drive and the Cats were up 14-0 at the 10:19 mark in the second quarter. Auguste Emond hit both point after attempts. The Cats were far from done, after squashing a Miles City drive, Green ran it in from 2 yards out with 6:25 to play in the half.
But they weren’t done. With time running out in the half, Ben Windauer caught a slant and ran it in from 5 yards out to put the Cats up by four touchdowns with three seconds left.
The rout was on.
Green would rush for two more touchdowns in the third and Easton Sempf would rumble in the end zone in the fourth. Green also picked off another Miles City pass in the second half.
Coach Jaxon Schweikert was pleased with the team’s play.
“We just want to keep getting better,” he said. He noted this squad has spent four years in the weight room and studying football and it’s paying off. He said some teams might take a bye week easy.
“We kind of went the other way,” he said, and they ratcheted up the intensity.
“Our kids are really smart,” he said. He noted Green checks almost every play at the line of scrimmage and calls the direction of the plays as he sees fit.
The weather may have kept the crowds down, but it didn’t impact the players. Snow showers fell on and off throughout the game, but the grounds crew did a great job of clearing it off by game time. The sun even tried to shine briefly late in the second half.
The Cats (7-1) now travel to Sidney for the semifinal game. Sidney, like Columbia Falls, will rely on its rushing attack. They rushed for 374 yards in beating Dillon, 38-22 in the quarterfinals.
The Cats will look to slow down their two main backs, Alec Lovegren, who ran for 197 yards against Dillon and Sawyor Thogersen, who rushed for 157 yards. The weather forecast is saying mostly sunny and high in the mid-30s for the 1 p.m. game.
Miles City 0 0 0 8 — 8
Columbia Falls 7 21 13 7 — 48
CF — Colton McPhee 16 run (Auguste Emond kick), 9:04
CF — Austin Green 2 run (Emond kick), 10:19
CF — Green 24 run (Emond kick), 6:25
CF — Ben Windauer 5 pass from Green (Emond kick), :03
CF — Green 1 run (kick blocked), 7:55
CF — Green 11 run (Emond kick), 3:33
CF — Easton Sempf 9 run (Emond kick), 10:13
MC — Kon Speelmon punt block recovery in end zone (Tristan Hirsch run), 2:27