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Titans KO mission in Friday night shootout


ST. IGNATIUS – Balboa and Creed got nothing on these guys.

Like the combatants in the epic Rocky sequel, the Titans and Bulldogs battled for 48 minutes before giving into the final buzzer. When it sounded, Flint Creek managed to pull itself to its collective feet and claim a 76-62 win over Mission to advance to 3-0 on the year.

When the game opened, the Bulldogs (2-2) looked like they were going to run wild over the defending state champs as part of their Homecoming celebration. Just 44 seconds into the game Mission quarterback Kellen McClure hit Canyon Sargent with a 58-yard scoring strike that put the home team up 6-0.

Flint Creek answered, but had to work its way through two minutes and a pair of penalties before QB Andrew Tallon connected with Avery Metesh for a 38-yard touchdown.

But the Bulldogs’ opening salvo was far from finished. McClure scored a rushing TD for the host team just 30 seconds later. And when the Titans fumbled on their next possession, McClure and Sargent linked up again for another score of 48 yards.

Three minutes later Flint Creek turned it over on downs, only to have McClure and Sargent once again find the end zone on a 31-yard play.

When the buzzer sounded, the Titans found themselves on the wrong end of a 28-6 deficit

“We just came out flat. We weren’t playing football,” said Flint Creek Head Coach Jason Ostler. “The week off, kids being tired, I don’t know. If I knew I’d have fixed it.”

When the second quarter started it was like the visiting Titans finally woke from their slumber.

It all started when Flint Creek senior Leyton Wagner intercepted Mission’s McClure and returned it 47 yards to the Bulldog five. From there junior Tyler Burden punched the ball in to make it a 26-16 game.

Metesh then intercepted McClure again and returned it for a score, only to have the play called back on a facemask penalty. Two plays later Burden charged in from the 18 to pull the locals with two, 26-24.

Mission was held scoreless on its next possession, followed by another Titan march that ended with Tallon plunging in from a yard out. The score gave the locals a lead they would never again relinquish, but they still had more to give before the Bulldogs started the coronation upper classmen at halftime.

Metesh intercepted a McClure pass in the end zone that resulted in a 25-yard Burden touchdown to culminate the drive. Mission the turned the ball over on downs, only to have Tallon go in again from two yards out with 27 seconds to play.

The 38-0 run in the second quarter put Flint Creek up 46-26 at intermission.

“We just quit giving away easy stuff there with our safeties,” observed Ostler of the turn around. “We weren’t playing Titan defense for sure. And then we just showed up and ran the ball.

“Dumb penalties killed us.”

The Titans were the victims of four first-quarter penalties that revered first-down plays and killed potential scoring drives.

Mission showed it wasn’t done when play resumed in the third quarter. The McClure-Sargent air show struck again at 7:21 to decrease the deficit to a pair of scores, 46-32.

Flint Creek answered on their next drive, but in strangest of ways. Tallon hit Metesh with a 40-yard pass that was stripped from his hands after the catch. Teammate Colt Parsons was nearby, watched the ball roll toward the end zone and picked it up and took it in for the score.

The Bulldogs got the final score of the period when Charlie Adams ran the ball in from the five to make the score 54-38 Flint Creek.

But just as there had been no quit in heroic actors of the Rocky saga, the Titans and Bulldogs were far from done. Mission scored three times in the final period on the arm of McClure as he hit Sargent, Adams and Kenny Ness. The Titans countered with three scores of their own, two of which were a Chase Goldade two-yard run and Tallon finding Cooper Bradshaw on a 30-yard TD route.

But the back breaker for Mission came when Burden claimed his fourth rushing score of the day on a 39-yard jaunt with 2:27 to go.

The Titans will try to collect themselves and refine their play as they head into their own Homecoming game Sept. 24 in Philipsburg against the Victor Pirates.

NOTES

Flint Creek is 5-1 against Mission since their creation in 2014. Their only loss to the Bulldogs came in 2019 (58-30). … The 138 points is the biggest offensive output ever in a Titan game. … The 62 points allowed by Flint Creek is the highest ever in a winning effort. It is tied for second all-time in a 62-54 loss to Charlo (2016) and behind a 74-42 defeat to Superior-Alberton in 2019. … The 76-point offensive output is tied for third all-time in Flint Creek franchise history. Their largest output all-time was two weeks ago against Troy with 84 points, followed by an 82-point performance against Seeley in 2018. Friday’s score against Mission is tied with a 76-point night against Troy in 2020. … The Titans have scored more than 70 points seven times since 2014. Including their games listed above they also score 74 against Sheridan (2020) and Culbertson (2018) and 70 against Seeley (2017).

SCORING

Flint Creek – 8/38/8/22 – 76

Mission – 26/0/12/24 – 62

FIRST QUARTER

11:16 MI McClure to Sargent 59 yard pass TD. Run failed.

9:13 FC Tallon to Metesh 38 yard pass TD. Burden Run.

8:26 MI McClure 6 yard run TD. Pass failed.

7:55 MI McClure to Sargent 48 yard pass TD. McClure run.

3:29 MI McClure to Sargent 31 yard pass TD. Pass failed.

SECOND QUARTER

11:42 FC Burden 5 yard run TD. Tallon to Metesh Pass.

10:16 FC Burden 12 yard run TD. Metesh run.

6:03 FC Tallon 1 yard run TD. Run failed.

1:59 FC Burden 25 yd run TD. Goldade run.

0:27 FC Tallon 2 yard run TD. Goldade run.

THIRD QUARTER

7:21 MI McClure to Sargent 35 yard pass TD. Run failed.

6:11 FC Tallon to Metesh 40 yard pass, fumble recovered by Parsons 5 yard run TD. Goldade run.

1:46 MI Adams 3 yard run TD. Run failed.

FOURTH QUARTER

8:07 FC Goldade 2 yard run TD. Pass failed.

6:49 MI McClure to Adams 42 yard pass TD. Sargent run.

6:37 MI McClure to Ness 37 yard pass TD. McClure to Umphrey pass.

3:31 FC Tallon to CBradshaw 30 yard pass TD. Goldade run.

2:34 MI McClure to Sargent 8 yard pass TD. MClure to Umphrey pass.

2:27 FC Burden 39 yard run TD. Goldade run.


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