Titans ride the beast of Burden past Fairview, 32-14
File Photo/Brooks Phillips
FAIRVIEW – Once the pregame distractions and jitters wore off, the Flint Creek Titans did what they do best – run the football. And that meant going to junior running back Tyler Burden.
Burden scored two times and was a leading force on defense as the No. 2 ranked Titans beat No. 1 ranked Fairview 32-14 in the quarterfinals of the MHSA 8-Man Football Championships Saturday on the road.
The victory puts them into the semifinals for the fourth time in five years, heading back to Fort Benton to play the North’s top team November 13 at 1 p.m.
Before the game ever started Flint Creek had to overcome several obstacles, not the least of which was the 575 mile drive from Granite County to northeastern Montana. But along the way the Titans awoke Friday morning to discover that the trailer with their gear in it had been broken into and several gear bags had equipment stolen from them.
In a Facebook post Friday afternoon, Drummond Principal Dean Phillips noted that Savage High School helped the Titans out with a few helmets and some gear and that Sheel’s Sporting Goods helped cover the rest. Once When Saturday came, Flint Creek looked a little tight to open the game, committing two fumbles that gave Fairview good field position early. But the Titans held and eventually put together a drive that culminated in a 63-yard touchdown pass play from Chase Goldade to Andrew Tallon. The ball was snapped to Tallon who tossed to Goldade and then rolled out where the latter threw back across his body to hit his target. Tallon then scampered down the sidelines with the help of a block from teammate Colt Parsons.
That lead held through most of the second quarter as Fairview put together a sustained drive that ended at 2:11 when Martin Manuel scored from 5 yards out. Hunter Sharbono added the conversion and run and the two teams went into the locker room with the Warriors up 8-6.
“Our timing was a little off,” said Flint Creek Head Coach Jason Ostler. “I just got out of their way, quit calling dumb stuff and let them do what they do.”
File Photo/Brooks Phillips
Burden and Goldade each got into the end zone in the third quarter on runs of five and two yards, respectively to give the locals a 20-8 lead. Manuel scored again for Fairview to narrow the margin to 20-14 just before period’s end.
“We did a great job of blocking as usual,” said Burden after the game. “We came out physical and came out hard and they were tired by the second half.”
With a winded Warrior team now facing elimination, they began taking more chances that never paid off. After Tallon punched the ball in from two yards out with 8:03 to play, Flint Creek smothered another offensive attempt by Fairview that ended with a fumble that the Titans recovered in Warrior territory. A few plays later Burden snapped off a 32-yard scoring run to seal the victory and a trip back to Fort Benton.
“Tyler had a great game,” Ostler observed when asked about the Titan’s ground attack. “Tyler and Chase (Goldade) both ran downhill hard and ran people over and just a lot of big, physical running like we like to do. If you watch us very much it’s what we like to do. If we get away with it then it makes everything else a lot easier. It’s kind of the plan at some point is how we’re going to run the ball.”
In other quarterfinal action Saturday, St. Ignatius lost to Fort Benton 42-26. In the upper half of the bracket Thompson Falls beat Belt 31-10 and Park City defeated Scobey 32-20. Park City will play Thompson Falls next weekend.
NOTES – Flint Creek and Fairview have faced off three times in their history, all in the postseason, and the Titans have won every time. Flint Creek won 46-8 in 2017, 48-6 in 2020 to go along with this year’s victory. ... The Titans are 9-0 on the year and have win their last 22 straight games dating back through 2019’s 13-0 state title run.
Flint Creek – 6/0/14/12 – 32
Fairview – 0/8/6/0 – 14
0:57 Goldade to Burden 63 yard pass TD. Run failed.
2:11 Manuel 5 yard run TD. Sharbono run.
7:46 Burden 5 yard run TD. Run failed.
3:33 Goldade 2 yard run TD. Burden run.
0:51 Manuel 8 yard run TD. Pass failed.
8:03 Tallon 2 yard run TD. Run failed.
2:41 Burden 32 yard run TD. Pass failed.