Flint Creek secures South Central title with rout of Seeley Swan
PHILIPSBURG – It was a game filled with all kinds of good things for the Flint Creek Titans, but none bigger than what it did for the rest of their season.
The local’s 62-0 shellacking of the Blackhawks Thursday night advances them to 7-0 in the South Central Conference and in sole possession of first place with just one game to play. Even if they should lose in that regular season finale, they still own the tiebreaker with second-place Ennis. That title also comes with the MHSA’s “Golden Ticket” – home field advantage in every postseason game the Titans play in.
“You just gotta come out and play football,” said Flint Creek Head Coach Jason Ostler when asked about what his plan will be for the team’s regular season finale next week at Simms. “We’re not going to take any crazy chances, but we’re gonna come out and play Titan football. That’s all we really know how to do.”
‘Titan Football’ was on full display from the get go against Seeley Swan, with the defense stepping up to stop the Blackhawks and force a turnover on downs at 11:08 in the quarter. 23 ticks later Andrew Tallon scampered in from 22 yards out for the opening score and a 6-0 lead.
Everyone was watching Tyler Burden all night as he made an assault on the team’s record books. Just 2-1/2 minutes after Tallon scored, Burden punched one in from six yards out and added the conversion run for a 14-0 lead.
It proved to be all Flint Creek would ever need.
Seeley’s third possession ended when Ben Bradshaw slipped through the line and blocked an attempted punt and with Reece Rigby recovering it on the one-yard line. Tallon looped a pass to Trey Phillips for the score and repeated the play for the conversion and a 22-0 advantage. The TD pass proved to be Tallon’s only completed pass of the night.
Apparently the senior play caller figured if he wasn’t going to throw any completions, he’d catch a few of his own.
On Seeley’s next possession Tallon intercepted a Ben Haley pass and returned it 29 yards for a score. It proved to be the first of four interceptions that Tallon had on the night setting a new team record. Michael James had tied the team record last week against Sheridan, previously held by Jaxon Lee from 2018.
“When we score on the first running play I don’t get a lot of passing opportunities,” laughed Tallon after the game. “He (Haley) was throwing a lot of high balls so I was just sitting behind them and he was throwing them to me.”
Tallon finished with three carries for 48 yards and two scores offensively.
"... we’re gonna come out and play Titan football. That’s all we really know how to do.”
~ Jason Ostler, Flint Creek Head Coach on next week's game at Simms
Meanwhile, Burden was busy going after team records of his own.
The senior running back finished the game with 11 carries for 136 yards and four touchdowns. The yardage put his past Kade Cutler’s 1,435 from 2019 to 1,505 for the year with at least two more games to play. His quartet of scores gives him 28 for the season, one behind Cutler’s 29.
For his career Burden eclipsed a milestone and now has 3,072 in his three years as a starter. He is 674 yards behind Cutler’s career rushing total of 3,746 set from 2017-2020.
“It just feels great,” Burden reflected of the achievement. “I just want to keep going and achieve some goals I have for this year.
When asked about his line, he added, “Those guys are great. They’re my favorite guys out there. Sometimes you can hear me out there yelling at them thanking them.”
Flint Creek’s defense clamped down on just about everything Seeley Swan tried, with a rare pass reception here and there that advanced the ball. Titan defender Reece Rigby spearheaded the effort, logging three quarterback sacks to tie a record held by his brother Wyatt.
“I had some help from upstairs tonight. Cousin Rafe helped me out there,” Said Rigby of the performance, referencing Ross “Rafe” Friede who passed away in a car accident last Saturday. “I start throwing one move and see how they react to it and start going from there.”
Rigby also blocked and recovered a punt that led to a Burden score.
Logan Hauptman closed out the scoring with a five-yard run in the fourth quarter and Kadin Graveley added the conversion run.
Flint Creek will play at Simms next Friday to close out the regular season before hosting a first round playoff game October 29.
In other South Central games being played Friday Simms will host Powell County, Cascade will play at Ennis, and Sheridan will travel to Lone Peak. Choteau will take a bye week.
NOTEBOOK – Tyler Burden’s 136 yards Thursday night made him the single season leading rusher for the Titans with 1,505. He surpassed Kade Cutler’s mark of 1,435 from 2019. … Burden had slipped into second on the all-time list past Colby Manley after the Sheridan victory at 2,933 yards. Adding in his total from Thursday’s game, he now has 3,072. Manley had 2,900 in his career. … Burden’s 4 scores against the Blackhawks leave him with 28 this season. He is one Cutler with 29 in 2019. … Tallon’s four interceptions in one game set a new team record and tie him for second in the MHSA record book for a single game with Darin Reynolds of Savage. Three other players have had five in a single contest. … Flint Creek has eight interceptions in the last two games, including four against Sheridan October 7. Tallon had one in that game and sophomore Michael James had three, which qualify the latter for the MHSA record book as well. … In locking up the South Central title, Flint Creek secured the coveted “Golden Ticket” (home field advantage) throughout the postseason for the second time in their existence. The first was in 2017 when they captured the state championship at George Mungas Field at Granite High School in Philipsburg. If the Titans maintain their alternating field use practices, the title game would be played there November 19th. … Thursday night’s win also makes the team 31-1 over the past three seasons. Flint Creek won the state title undefeated in 2019 (12-0), fell in the championship game to Thompson Falls in 2021 (11-1) and are 8-0 thus far in 2022. … The Titans are 8-0 lifetime against the Blackhawks since their creation in 2014. Flint Creek has outscored Seeley Swan 478-56. Flint Creek has blanked Seeley Swan the last two times and three of the last four matchups.
Seeley Swan – 0/0/0/0 – 0
Flint Creek – 28/14/12/8 – 62
10:52 FC Tallon 22 yd run TD. Run failed.
8:14 FC Burden 6 yd run TD. Burden run.
5:37 FC Tallon 1 yd pass to Phillips TD. Tallon to Phillips pass.
5:15 FC Tallon 29 yd interception return TD. Pass failed.
8:27 FC Burden 12 yd run TD. Burden run.
4:03 FC Burden 23 yd run TD. Pass failed.
11:25 FC Burden 42 yd run TD. Pass failed.
7:41 FC Tallon 24 yd run TD. Run failed.
10:23 FC Hauptman 5 yd run TD. Graveley run.