Locomotives steamroll Loggers in playoff game

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The Libby Loggers practice at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman prior to their playoff loss to Laurel. The Locomotives scored 50 points unanswered during the Nov. 9 matchup. (Courtesy photo)

The Laurel Locomotives dashed Libby’s postseason aspirations Nov. 9, rumbling over the Loggers for a 50-0 win in the second round of the Class A football playoffs.

The tide went Laurel’s way just three plays into the game. Linebacker Ethan Renner pulled the ball loose from Libby’s Dawson Young, sending it into the hands of teammate Jack Waddell. A few plays later and the Locomotives were up 7-0.

Laurel head coach Mike Ludwig said afterward that the turnover and subsequent score soothed his players’ nerves.

“A big turnover like that and then scoring right away just kind of calms everyone down, that, hey, we can play with these guys and we’re better than these guys,” he told 406MTSports.com.

The Locomotives kept stoking the fire.

Quarterback Eli Aby logged four touchdown passes while Renner, when not playing defense, barreled into the end zone three times. By the first quarter’s end, the Locomotives led 21-0. They were up 35-0 by halftime.

The Loggers entered the Laurel Sports Complex coming off of a 49-28 win over Butte Central. Libby quarterback Jay Beagle, still filling in for injured senior Jeff Offenbecher, threw for 205 yards and went 18 for 32 during the game.

He also threw two interceptions, one to Waddell and another to senior Taggert Devaney.

Senior Chandler Bower earned 62 yards on 10 catches in the blowout loss.

The defeat brings to an end Libby’s 8-3 season. The Loggers went 6-0 earlier in the year before falling to Dillon and Hamilton. They rebounded with in a mud-soaked match with Frenchtown to grab the No. 5 seed heading into the playoffs.

Laurel will go on to play No. 2 Dillon on Nov. 15 in the annual tournament’s semifinal game.

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