DARBY – It isn’t often that Flint Creek Head Coach Mike Cutler is left speechless.
But when asked to describe just how proud he was of his team after their 50-28 victory over the Tigers in Darby Friday night, his response was simple and heartfelt.
“No, I can’t tell you how proud I am,” said Cutler.
It was a night of adversity for the Titans as they faced a Darby team with substantial threats on both land and in the air and sporting a defense that they had not shown anyone all year.
“That was a completely different defense from what we saw on tape,” said Cutler, “so we were adjusting from the start.”
But those adjustments proved only to be the tip of the iceberg for Flint Creek. Late in the second quarter and leading 22-8, Titan lineman Tucker Weaver went down holding his right knee. It was learned later that Weaver had dislocated his right knee cap, which was adjusted on the field before he was taken to the sidelines.
Darby’s Nelson Smith scored to complete that drive, and then tried an onside kick. It was on that play that senior lineman Wyatt Rigby allowed the ball to go past him to a teammate so he could provide a block. He did so on Smith, only to be knocked unconscious and fall to the turf.
Cutler revealed after the game what had happened to Rigby and that his transport to the local hospital was a precautionary measure.
The two losses forced the Titans to dip into their depleted reserves. Those reserves did not disappoint.
“We had a lot of adversity out there tonight,” observed Cutler. “Tucker has a dislocated kneecap out there in the field and he doesn’t even whimper when it gets put back in. And then Wyatt get knocked cold … We had a lot of kids that stepped up. Every one of them did. We had a lot of sophomores out there playing tonight.
“We needed that win tonight and now we can go about our business.”
After Rigby left the field, the Titans moved the ball down to the seven yard line where Kade Cutler hit Preston Metesh with a 17-yard scoring pass and a 28-14 advantage.
Darby wasn’t done trying to salvage their homecoming game, as Nelson dove in from a yard out with nine minutes to play in the third period. The score brought Darby within six, 28-22.
But Cutler wasn’t done either. He and Metesh connected on a 10-yard scoring pass at the 4:43 mark in the stanza and followed it up with the third of his four rushing touchdowns on the night with 18.5 left before the fourth.
The two teams traded scores in the final quarter but Flint Creek milked the clock as time wound down and secured a much needed win.
The Titans are now 4-2 in the 8-man Western Conference (5-2 overall) and will face the Mission Bulldogs in St. Ignatius next week in a game that is certain to determine the playoff positioning for both teams. Darby (3-3/3-3) will face 2-5 Charlo at home.
Flint Creek – 22/6/14/8 – 50
Darby – 0/14/8/6 – 28
11:19 FC Cutler 62 yd run TD. Conversion run Cutler.
8:26 FC PMetesh 45 yd run TD. Conversion pass failed.
1:59 FC Cutler 5 yd run TD. Conversion run Cutler.
11:24 Darby NSmith to Parks 56 yd TD. Conversion pass NSmith to Davis.
3:05 Darby NSmith 5 yd run TD. Conversion pass failed.
1:08 FC Cutler to PMetesh 17 yd pass TD. Conversion pass failed.
9:05 NSmith 1 yd run TD. Conversion run Parks.
4:43 FC Cutler to PMetesh 10 yd TD. Conversion run PMetesh.
18.5 FC Cutler 10 yd run TD. Conversion pass failed.
5:45 FC Cutler 9 yd run TD. Conversion run PMetesh.
4:22 Darby NSmith to PSmith 17 yd pass TD. Conversion pass failed.