Twenty years ago, the boys of fall from Hamilton made their mark in history by winning the Broncs’ first Class A football championship. This year, the boys of fall from 2017 are hoping to repeat that feat.
They have marched through opponents, easily beating some while toughing it out against others to gain the win. Their only loss was at the hands of Columbia Falls on September when the Wildcats edged out Hamilton, 23-20. The two teams will have a rematch this weekend for the state Class A championship. The game will be in Columbia Falls at 1pm on Saturday, November 18.
Hamilton coach Bryce Carver said the Wildcats are big, athletic, and physical. “We are the last two teams standing. It’s going to be a battle.” He went on to say that his team truly believed they would be in the championship and are just working hard now to make the dream possible.
Hamilton played Billings Central in the semi final game on Saturday in Hamilton at Haynes Field. This was the last high school game to be played at Haynes Field as Hamilton will build a new sports complex in the spring.
The tone of the game was set just a few seconds into the game on the first play of the game when the Bronc offense broke loose for 60 yards to put Hamilton on the eight yard line. Then Bridger Bauder took the ball into the end zone for the six points and then kicked the PAT. Only 24 seconds had elapsed. Bauder also had a touchdown in the third quarter, a six yard run to the end zone. He finished the day with 128 yards.
Billings Central tied the game at 7-all with a little more than five minutes remaining in the first quarter when Chrishon Dixon caught a 40 yard pass from Joe Byorth. The duo connected once more in the game in the second quarter on a 29 yard pass to take the lead.
But it was Hamilton’s Camron Rothie’s who came through. The junior caught a 40 yard pass from Carson Rostad two minutes into the second quarter to tie the game back up. Carson Rostad scored on a one yard plunge to score in the quarter also.
“Cam played extremely well,” said Hamilton coach Bryce Carver. “He’s so skilled in what he does. And our blockers were doing their job.”
Rothie finished with three receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Chouinard had seven receptions for 100 yards. Tyler Barnes had two receptions for 54 yards. Rostad completed 12 of 15 passes for 222 yards.
Billings Central scored twice more in the second quarter and had a seven point lead going into the half. Ben Voss made a 12 yard run with Camden Casper kicking the PAT. Charlie Parkan followed Rostad’s touchdown with a 10 yard reception from Byorth with only 11 seconds remaining in the half to lead, 28-21 at the half.
Carver said his team was not discouraged at half time. They know it’s a 48 minute game and came out ready to play in the third quarter.
“Their offensive line did a really good job,” said Carver. “We just made sure we got to the ball before they built up steam.”
But then Hamilton’s defense went to work in the second half and held Billings Central scoreless. And Rothie went to work. After Bauder’s touchdown in the third quarter, Billings Central was pushing to get to the end zone. In the fourth quarter, Rothie stopped the Rams who were close to scoring with an interception. With less than half a quarter to go, Rothie caught a pass that appeared to be a touchdown but was called out of bounds. Billings Central took over on a fumble but again the Bronc defense stopped them. Rothie’s number was called again with the Hamilton possession and Rostad hit him from 25 yards out to seal the win, 35-28.