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Onside kick fails; Libby falls short against Hamilton

by Phil Johnson
| September 15, 2013 9:31 PM

Despite playing their best game of the season, the Libby Loggers (0-3) fell 24-21 to the Hamilton Broncs (2-1) in a football game that came down to a desperation onside kick in the final minute.

Libby senior quarterback Jared Winslow threw a 14-yard tochdown pass to Josh Bowers with 50 seconds remaining to bring the score within three. The ensuing onside kick bounced into the awaiting hands of the Broncs’ special teams and the game ended with Hamilton quarterback Josh Bauder kneeling the clock out.

The Loggers entered the game knowing they would face a stiff challenge from the Hamilton passing game. Libby coach Neil Fuller shifted the Loggers from their base 5-3 defense to a 4-4 look, hoping an extra linebacker would clog the Broncs’ passing lanes. The adjustment failed to pay ultimate dividends, however, allowing 371 yards through the air. Hamilton receiver Kris Cleveland pulled in 10 balls for 207 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown. Bauder finished 19-28 with two touchdowns and an interception.

Still, the Loggers had opportunities. Libby led 7-3 at halftime, driven by senior fullback Nic Robertson’s first-quarter, one-yard touchdown plunge.

“We had our chances,” Fuller said. “I thought our defense played very well tonight. We did a good job keeping them on their heels. We just gave up some third-and-longs that really hurt.”

Hamilton scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, the second an 11-yard strike to receiver Teague Blome, coach Travis Blome’s younger brother.

The Loggers contained the Broncs’ ground game, holding them under 100 yards rushing.

“They didn’t have a strong run game,” Fuller said. “But their coaches did a good job keeping us off balance in the second half. They ran the ball effectively when they did keep it on the ground.”

Winslow finished 14-22 for 171 yards and two touchdowns, but his two interceptions proved costly. Winslow also led the team with 80 yards rushing on 25 carries. Robertson led the team in receiving with 58 yards on seven catches. Dylon Lane sparked the Loggers defense with an interception.

“We played so much better than the previous two weeks,” Fuller said. “We had some kids in position to make plays and we just need to get them playing a little more aggressively. I am excited about how our team is progressing.”

The Loggers travel to Stevensville next week.