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Titans’ ‘D’, ground game propels them past Fort Benton, 38-22

FORT BENTON – From a preview done by a Great Falls station, this rematch was clearly one the Fort Benton Longhorns wanted and wanted badly.

As the saying goes, you better be careful what you wish for.

The Longhorns got their rematch and suffered the same fate as a year previous, losing 38-22 to the Flint Creek Titans in the semifinals of the MHSA 8-Man Football Championships. The win makes the locals 10-0 on the year and puts them into the championship game for the fourth time in five years.

Fort Benton closes the season at 8-2.

The Blue Hawks beat Park City 41-16 in Saturday’s other semifinal, allowing them to host the 8-Man Championship in an all western division final.

The game started pretty much the way everyone expected with Fort Benton pounding the ball in a relentless ground game attack. Their initial drive lasted almost seven minutes before Colter Ball punched the ball in from the three for a 6-0 lead. Flint Creek found the going rocky on their first possession, turning possession back over to the Longhorns 59 seconds to play in the period. Fort Benton only needed 42 of them as Ball found the end zone again, this time from the 10. He added the two-point run and the hosts were on top 14-0.

As the second period opened the momentum started to shift almost immediately. Just over 90 seconds ion the Titans got on the scoreboard with a two-yard run by Chase Goldade to cut the lead to 14-6.

Fort Benton fumbled the ball on its next possession and three minutes later were on the one yard line. Tyler Burden barreled in for the score leaving the Titans down 14-12.

"I mean Reece (Rigby), Trevor (Rouse) and Cooper (Bradshaw) were right there beside me and we fought hard the whole way. We knew they wanted to run the ball the whole time. We closed all the gaps and got on our assignment.”
~ Cordell Langton

As the Longhorns started to sputter offensively, they went three-and-out on their next series, punting the ball back to Flint Creek with 4:37 to go before halftime. On the drive’s second play Titan receiver Avery Metesh weaved his way through the field of defenders for a 33-yard scoring run. Flint Creek missed its third conversion of the game but still had its first lead at 18-14.

Flint Creek recovered its third fumble of the first half and might have scored again if not for having a 44-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Tallon to Colt Parsons nullified for offensive pass interference.

The Titans received the second half kickoff and gave Fort Benton a dose of their own medicine with an eight minute drive. Flint Creek had its second score of the day – a Burden run from the six – called back for offensive holding. The Titans couldn’t convert the resulting fourth and 16, giving the ball back to Fort Benton. They too were unsuccessful, resulting in a punt that gave the ball back Flint Creek as the period expired.

But the first play of the final stanza saw Metesh burst from the pack on a 52-yard scoring run and a 26-14 lead. The Longhorns gave their fans some hope five minutes later when quarterback Cade Ball hit Brock Hanford with a 10-yard scoring pass and his brother Colter adding the conversion to close the gap to a slim 24-22.

But Tallon and the Titans would have none of it. The locals marched the ball down the field where Tallon ran it in from the nine, and followed it four minutes later with a 22-yard scoring run as they tried to run the clock out. Goldade added the conversions on both and Flint Creek had officially punched their ticket to the title game in Thompson Falls Nov. 20.

While the Titans’ ground game was on full display, what may have been more striking to the discerning eye was the play of the defense. Despite playing a somewhat larger opponent, the Flint Creek defenders refused to give an inch after the initial opening salvos by the Longhorns. Once their energies equaled, the Titans took full control.

“We wore them down and showed them different looks, started cuttin’ on ‘em on certain downs,” said Co-Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Jerry Metesh. “Nothing mind blowing. The kids played their butts off for sure. They earned that one.”

Like opponents before them, Fort Benton tried to stop Flint Creek’s defensive insurgence by double-teaming nose guard Cordell Langton. Playing with several dings and bruises and handling two opponents on nearly every snap, Langton and his teammates were repeatedly in the backfield all game.

“It’s all about strength,” Langton said after the win. “We were in the weight room all summer long. I mean Reece (Rigby), Trevor (Rouse) and Cooper (Bradshaw) were right there beside me and we fought hard the whole way. We knew they wanted to run the ball the whole time. We closed all the gaps and got on our assignment.”

“We just had to get after that dive,” added Head Coach Jason Ostler. “Their whole offense runs through that dive. We had really good match ups on the outside with our speed, so if we could get to that we were in good shape.”

The Titans beat the Longhorns at their own game, amassing 367 yards on the ground on 54 running plays behind an offensive line that wore down the Fort Benton defenders. That accounted for an 85-15 ratio of run to pass that led to the victory.

Metesh and Burden led the charge defensively. Metesh had a team best 13 solo tackles and two assists with Burden getting seven solo stops and assisting on nine more.


Flint Creek – 0/18/0/20 – 38

Fort Benton – 14/0/0/8 – 22


5:06 FB CoBall 3 yard run TD. Run failed.

0:17 FB CoBall 10 yard run TD. CoBall run.


10:29 FC Goldade 2 yard run TD. Run failed.

6:10 FC Burden 1 yard run TD. Run failed.

4:20 FC Metesh 33 yard run TD. Run failed.


11:49 FC Metesh 52 yard run TD. Run failed.

6:31 FB CaBall 10 yard pass to Hanford TD. CoBall run.

4:46 FC Tallon 9 yard run TD. Goldade run.

0:59 FC Tallon 22 yard run TD. Goldade run.


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