All treats, no tricks for Titans in playoff opener
DRUMMOND – Three plays told the tail of the day for the Flint Creek Titans as they easily handled the visiting Belt Huskies 60-14 Saturday.
On his first two carries of the game senior Preston Metesh massed 115 yards on runs of 67 and 48 yards. Combined with a devastating sack by junior defender Leyton Wagner late in the first period of Belt’s Kaimen Evans made for a long day for the visitors.
The win advances Flint Creek (9-0) into the quarterfinals of the Montana High School Association’s 8-Man Football Playoffs. The game will be played at Granite High School in Philipsburg against Fairview, who defeated Ennis 44-6 in their opener. Kickoff will be 1 p.m.
To the casual observer it almost looked like the Titans were slow in breaking from the gate, but it only appeared so because the Huskies were the first truly playoff caliber team that Flint Creek has faced all year.
“Heck no, that’s just playoff football,” said FC Head Coach Mike Cutler of the game when asked if he felt the opening stanza was slow for his Titans. “If we had a slow quarter it’d be the second. Some offensive penalties killed us. Kade (Cutler) had a long run that was called back and Preston had a touchdown called back. We’ve just gotta keep cleaning that stuff up.”
The first play on their first drive was Metesh’s 67 yard jaunt down the east sideline. Belt’s Evans ran him down before he could get into the end zone, which is where quarterback Kade Cutler put it just a few plays later.
Belt gave the ball back to the Titans after failing on their first series only to watch Metesh go around the end again, this time for 47 yards.
“The outside was open and (Coach) Cutler has been yelling at me all year to go outside and I finally did it and it worked,” said Metesh of the plays. He also noted that linemen Mason Graeff and Ethan Parke were providing the needed blocks to get the corner for the big gains.
Once in the red zone, this time Cutler went to the air and found Avery Metesh for a four-yard score that put the locals up 16-0.
Wagner’s sack put the Huskies back near their own goal line and as the second quarter, Belt tried a fake punt that came up short. But a penalty by Flint Creek gave the visitors an apparent second life. But two plays later Garett Metrione fumbled and had the ball recovered by the Titans. Two minutes after that Cutler hit Preston Metesh with a 29-yard scoring play to go up 22-0.
Belt finally put together a scoring drive on its next series that culminated with a one-yard run by Evans. He hit Aidan McDaniel with the point after and the Huskies trailed 22-8. The score was the first TD allowed by the Flint Creek starters since the first game of the season against Mission.
But just before the halftime buzzer, the Metesh and Cutler show went back on stage. The former had two runs totaling 57 yards and the latter punched it in from four yards out with 1:10 on the clock. The score sent Flint Creek into the locker room with a 30-8 margin.
Belt got one more score in the third to close the gap temporarily when Evans hit Jeremy Nebel with a 21-yard scoring strike. The PAT failed and the score stood 30-14.
From there the Titans added four more scores to secure the win and the second round date with Fairview next week. Metesh and Cutler each added four-yard runs with Tyler Burden scoring on rushes of 37 and eight in the final period.
Preston Metesh finished with more than 200 all-purpose yards on the day.
Belt – 0/8/6/0 – 14
Flint Creek – 16/14/8/22 – 60
10:58 FC Cutler 1 yd run TD. Cutler run.
6:05 FC Cutler 4 yd pass to AMetesh. Cutler run.
6:34 FC Cutler 29 yd pass to PMetesh TD. Pass failed.
3:22 BT Evans 1 yd run TD. Evans pass to McDaniel.
1:10 FC Cutler 4 yd run TD. Cutler pass to Parke.
6:30 BT Evans 21 yd pass to Nebel TD. Pass failed.
3:10 FC PMetesh 4 yd run TD. Cutler run.
11:54 FC Cutler 4 yd run TD. Cutler run.
8:56 FC Burden 37 yd run TD. Burden run.
3:07 FC Burden 8 yd run TD. Run failed.