THOMPSON FALLS – A bigger team and a relentless ground game proved to be the undoing of the Flint Creek Titans Friday night as they lost to the Blue Hawks of Thompson Falls, 64-24.
When asked after the game what his assessment of the game was, Titan Head Coach Mike Cutler put it simply.
“The better team won. Their size was too much.”
Flint Creek had played teams with bigger players before, but overcame it with superior technique and coaching adjustments. But Friday was different as Thompson Falls Head Coach Jared Koskela deployed a unique strategy. Instead of using his larger linemen the entire game, he reserved them only for the offensive line and utilized a smaller, quicker squad to play defense.
The tactic proved effective.
The Blue Hawks took the opening drive and pushed it down the field on 10 consecutive running plays that culminated in a five yard touchdown run from senior Nate Willhite. QB Trey Fisher hit Dakota Irvine with the conversion pass and Thompson Falls was up 8-0.
Flint Creek looked like it would be able to trade scoring punches with the hosts early, going to the air on their first play from scrimmage with junior QB Kade Cutler finding junior Preston Metesh on a 51-yard scoring play. Cutler punched in the conversion and the game was tied 8-8.
On their next drive the Blue Hawks went back to the ground game, leaving it momentarily at 6:15 left in the opening stanza when Fisher tried to hit Trey Thilmony on a sideline pattern. The officials flagged the Titans for face guarding with contact, a call which drew the ire of Flint Creek fans, Coach Cutler and gave the Blue Hawks a first down that sustained their drive.
That series ended when Fisher scored the first of his six rushing touchdowns on the day that gave Thompson Falls a lead it would never relinquish. Fisher added three more scores before halftime to put his team ahead 36-8.
Flint Creek did show a few glimpses of offensive brilliance late in the game. In the third quarter Cutler hit senior Daniel Brabender with a 60-yard scoring pass and Leyton Wagner added a 45-yard scoring run in the fourth. But it was all too little, too late.
The loss means that Flint Creek drops to 3-2 and into fourth place in the 8-man Western Conference, putting their playoff chances in jeopardy. The Titans hold the tie breaker over Seeley Swan (idle this week) who will play Clark Fork and Thompson Falls in the final two weeks of the season.
Next up for Flint Creek is Arlee in Philipsburg for Homecoming 2019. The Warriors are 1-4 after losing to 44-28 to Darby Friday night.
Flint Creek – 8/0/8/8 – 24
Thompson Falls – 22/14/14/14 – 64
7:50 TFS Nate Wilhite 5 run (Trey Fisher pass from Dakota Irvine)
7:35 FC Preston Metesh 51 pass from Kade Cutler (Kade Cutler run)
4:40 TFS Trey Fisher 40 run (pass failed)
2:30 TFS Trey Fisher 10 run (Trey Fisher run)
9:05 TFS Trey Fisher 43 run (pass failed)
0:45 TFS Trey Fisher 8 run (Trey Fisher run)
7:46 TFS Trey Fisher 6 run (Trae Thilmony run)
6:10 FC Daniel Brabender 60 pass from Kade Cutler (Kade Cutler run)
0:04 TFS Trey Fisher 5 run (run failed)
9:28 TFS Jordan Fisher 1 run (run failed)
7:29 FC Leyton Wagner 45 run (Leyton Wagner run)
2:32 TFS Elijah Ratliff 3 run (Trae Thilmony run)