Billings West 49, Helena Capital 28
BILLINGS— The Billings West Bears haven't trailed much this football season but had no trouble rallying from a two-touchdown deficit Friday night to eliminate Helena Capital in a Class AA quarterfinal.
Michael DeLeon busted loose to score five touchdowns for the Bears, including a 56-yard scamper in the third quarter giving the Bears a 42-21 lead. DeLeon finished with a career high 305 rushing yards.
Capital scored on its opening possession and controlled a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter. But West countered with three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter capped by a 96-yard drive after stopping the Bruins on 4th-and-goal trying to jump on top again.
West (8-1) will host Helena High next Friday night at 7 p.m. in a semifinal match-up.
Missoula Sentinel 35, Great Falls High 0
MISSOULA— The reigning State AA champion Missoula Sentinel Spartans took another step toward a repeat on Friday when they cruised to a 35-0 quarterfinal victory over Great Falls High. It was the Sentinel's 19th straight win dating back to 2020.
The Spartan defense held Great Falls High to just 2 overall yards of offense on 29 offensive plays. Adam Jones scored three touchdowns for the Spartans.
Sentinel (8-0) will host Kalispell Glacier in the semifinal round next Friday at 7 p.m.
Helena 42, Bozeman 7
BOZEMAN—On Friday night at Van Winkle Stadium the No. 4 Bozeman Hawks hosted No. 5 Helena in the Class AA quarterfinals. The Bengals took out the Bozeman Gallatin Raptors last week to earn the right to play Bozeman.
The Helena Bengals sunk their fangs into Bozeman early and never looked back to win 42-7.
Bengals received the kickoff and they wasted no time putting points on the board. Just over a minute into the game, Kaden Huot found Kade Schlepp for a 42-yard bomb for touchdown.
The Hawks would drive into Bengals territory on the next possession but Jake Casagranda would throw a pass that was tipped multiple times and eventually into the hands of Helena’s Gavin Thennis for an interception.
They then marched right down the field and scored on Huot two-yard rushing touchdown.
Midway through the second quarter Huot threw a touchdown pass to Chase McGurran to give Helena a 21-0 lead.
On their next possession running back Cade Holland gashed Bozeman on the ground, eventually scoring from 10 yards out to put Helena up 28-0 before the half.
Cade Holland and Marcus Evans would add a couple of rushing touchdowns in the second half.
Bozeman’s only touchdown came on a pass from Casagranda to Avery Allen.
Bozeman’s season comes to an end and Helena will move onto the semifinals against Billings West.
Kalispell Glacier 35, Butte 26
BUTTE— Jake Rendina scored three rushing touchdowns, including a 62-yard go-ahead scoring run in the third quarter as Kalispell Glacier pulled past Butte to set up a semifinal clash against Missoula Sentinel next week.
With just over two minutes remaining, Glacier's Jake Turner scored on a 44-yard rushing touchdown to put the Wolfpack up 33-26. Rendina then converted a 2-point run to put Glacier up by nine points, 35-26, to ice the game.
The Bulldogs got the game's first points on a pair of first-quarter 22-yard field goals from Casey Kautzman before Rendina scored his first touchdown on a 5-yard run in the second quarter. Butte quarterback Jace Stenson then scored on an 8-yard touchdown run to put the Bulldogs back on top 13-7 before Rendina crossed the goal line again on a 7-yard scoring run before the break.
Glacier opened the third quarter with a 21-yard scoring pass from Gage Sliter to Luke Bilau before Butte tied the game at 20 on a touchdown pass from Stenson to Cameron Gurnsey.
Rendina then busted loose for a 62-yard touchdown run before the end of the third quarter to give the Wolfpack a 27-20 lead.
With just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Stenson and Gurnsey connected again to pull Butte within 27-26 before Kautzman's extra point attempt was blocked. Turner then scored his touchdown run and Butte's ensuing possession ended in an interception.
The Bulldogs, which were the No. 3 overall seed in the Class AA playoffs, end the season at 6-4.