CHARLO – For the duration of the first quarter, Flint Creek’s game in Charlo looked like it was shaping up to be another chapter in the saga of Michael Myers. They were in a remote location, in a (playoff) life or death situation and on each play they were in the right place at the right time with all the wrong results.
But then the Titans flipped the script.
For the next three quarters they became the Viking’s Homecoming nightmare as they tore through the host school on their way to a 46-20 victory. The win advances the Titans to 2-1 on the year while Charlo falls to 1-2.
“Our kids before the game maybe didn’t have a great look in their eye,” said Assistant Coach JC Holland after the win. “but we challenged a few of them and said, ‘hey guys, we’re there!’ I think they’re young and they said ‘These guys are human and we’re just going to go play.’”
The Vikings managed to score twice in the opening stanza: once on an Isaiah Allik 46-yard run and again when QB Coyle Nagy hit fellow sophomore Braydon Zemple on a seven-yard scoring route. That left Charlo up 14-0 with 2:04 to play in the period seemingly in full control.
Viking Head Coach Reese Cox had feared the adjustment ability of Titan Head Coach Mike Cutler and his staff, and rightfully so. Flint Creek made its first set of tweaks at the break, moving people within their defensive sets and encouraging the players to get back to basics on defense, according to Holland.
"... we challenged a few of them and said, ‘hey guys, we’re there!’ I think they’re young and they said ‘These guys are human and we’re just going to go play.’" ~ JC Holland
“We weren’t getting our feet ready to tackle. We were flying by and tackling on our heels instead of breaking down and tackling. We’d have ‘em for a loss or no-yard gain and give them a 10-yards. I didn’t get real crazy in the first quarter because we were there to make the plays; we just weren’t making the tackles.
As the second quarter opened, Flint Creek’s adjustments on defense start to pay off. Along with making the Viking advances shorter, the Titans began finding their way into the backfield to pressure Nagy. This resulted in several QB sacks, an interception by Avery Metesh and a fumble recovery by Cordell Langton that setup Flint Creek’s first score of the game.
After getting within 10 yards of the end zone the Titans were pushed back to the 21 on a holding call. It made little difference as QB Kade Cutler sliced and diced his way through the Charlo secondary for a score. Leyton Wagner added the first of two conversion runs on the night and the locals trailed 14-8.
Halftime provided the Flint Creek staff a second opportunity to make more adjustments that served to bring them even and eventually pass the host team for the win.
Cutler and the Titans got back into the end zone on their first drive of the second half, scoring from a yard out to take a 16-14 lead. It was short-lived as the Vikings clawed back with a sustained drive that found Allik scoring his second TD of the game from the one. Charlo held a 20-16 advantage that proved to be their last of the game with 4:01 to play in the third period.
Flint Creek began to show its dominance as the fourth quarter neared and put it on full display when the final 12 minutes of play began.
Cutler threw his only touchdown pass of the game with 10:48 to play, hitting Tucker Weaver with a six-yard scoring strike. The Junior QB added the conversion and run the Titans went up 24-20.
Just four minutes later Wagner found his way in for a score from three yards out, extending the lead to 30-20.
Charlo tried to answer, but the Titan defense was having none of it. The forced the Vikings to turn the ball over on downs with 4:39 to play and then scored on the very next play when Cutler scampered in from 46 yards out and a 38-20 lead.
A few minutes later Langton was part of a sack-fumble by Nagy that saw the sophomore get his second recovery of the game at the Charlo 30.
Three plays into their next drive Cutler threw what should have been his second scoring pass of the day, but WR Daniel Brabender had the ball pop loose. It took a fortunate bounce into the hands of Metesh, who carried it from two yards out for the final score of the game.
While Holland noted that the Vikings had tried to slow the Flint Creek passing game with a deep safety, but Kade Cutler had another explanation. “That’s on me. I just didn’t have my eyes right and didn’t have my steps right getting back in the pocket. My offensive line was great tonight. That’s all on me.”
What Cutler may have lacked in air, he more than made up on the ground. He rushed the ball 30 times for 201 yards and three scores.
One area that Titans lost to the Vikings was in Penalties. The locals incurred eight for 55 yards, a higher total than what’s typical for them.
“We’re young and I think some of that was youth and nerves,” observed Holland. “At times we have a freshman and four sophomores out there. This may not be the Charlo of years past, but it’s still Charlo. Pretty good team and this is a big win.”
Flint Creek will head back home Friday night to host Seeley Swan at Drummond High School. The Blackhawks are 3-0 on the year, having posted wins over Darby, Plains and Arlee. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Flint Creek – 0/8/8/30 – 46
Charlo – 14/0/6/0 – 20
10:59 CH Allik 46 yd run TD. Allik Conversion Run.
2:04 CH Nagy to Zemple 7 yd pass TD. Conversion failed
5:16 FC Cutler 20 yd run TD. Wagner Conversion Run
9:50 FC Cutler 1 yd run TD. Wagner Conversion Run
4:01 CH Allik 1 yd run TD. Conversion failed
10:48 FC Cutler to Weaver 6 yd pass TD. Cutler run
6:33 FC Wagner 3 yd run TD. Conversion failed
4:29 FC Cutler 46 yd run TD. Cutler to Tallon Conversion Pass.
2:07 FC Cutler to Brabender fumbled at 2 yd line, Metesh recover 2 yd run. Cutler to Metesh Conversion Pass.