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Broncs buck Loggers 48-14

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | October 19, 2021 7:00 AM

Facing off against the top-ranked Class A team in the state, the Libby Loggers fell 48-14 against Hamilton on Oct. 15.

Despite the late-season loss, the Loggers can still make the playoffs if they win this week’s game against Corvallis. Libby has a 3-5 season record and is 2-4 in the Class A western conference.

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The Libby Loggers fell 48-14 to top-ranked Hamilton on Oct. 15. (Derrick Perkins/The Western News)

The Loggers held their own in the first half against Hamilton, only letting the Bronc’s up-tempo offense score two touchdowns. Hamilton’s first end zone trip came late in the opening quarter. After completing a 30-yard pass to wide receiver Liam O’Connell, quarterback Tyson Rostad carried the ball the last few yards for a touchdown. The extra-point kick was good.

Early in the game, the Logger offense focused on their ground game with quarterback Ryder Davis carrying the ball and passing it off to running backs Cy Stevenson and Ryan Collins. Though Libby marched deep into Hamilton territory a couple of times — once getting close enough for a failed 16-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter — the Loggers failed to convert any of the early game drives into points.

With less than five minutes in the half, Rostad completed a 55-yard touchdown pass to Eli Taylor. The Broncs secured the extra-point kick, giving them a 14-0 lead.

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The Libby Loggers fell 48-14 to top-ranked Hamilton on Oct. 15. (Derrick Perkins/The Western News)

Switching it up during their next possession, Loggers took to the air despite persistent rain. Although Libby had trouble connecting passes, the Loggers capitalized on penalties generated by the Bronc’s aggressive defense. Two pass interference penalties allowed the Loggers to move from their 35-yard line to Hamilton’s 30-yard line.

A few plays later, faced with a fourth down and 16, Davis kept the offense on the field by completing a pass to tight end Tripp Zhang. After a short pass to Stevenson and a carry, Davis handed the ball off to Collins, who completed the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. The extra-point kick was no good, bringing up a halftime score of 14-6.

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The Libby Loggers fell 48-14 to top-ranked Hamilton on Oct. 15. (Derrick Perkins/The Western News)

Coach Neil Fuller commended his squad for holding the Broncs in the first half but noted the team’s receivers needed to improve.

“We have got to catch the ball,” he said. “We had so many drops tonight. We’re just not good enough to do that; we have got to execute. [Davis] did everything he could to get us going.”

The Broncs turned up the heat in the second half, securing their next touchdown two minutes into the third quarter. After an interception, the Broncs scored again. With just under three minutes in the quarter, Hamilton ran the ball into the end zone for their fifth score of the night.

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The Libby Loggers fell 48-14 to top-ranked Hamilton on Oct. 15. (Derrick Perkins/The Western News)

While Libby struggled to gain yardage during possessions, wide receiver Sam Rosling gave the Loggers their second touchdown with an 80-yard kick return. In the following two-point attempt, Davis completed a pass to Stevenson bringing up a score of 41-12 with just over six minutes in the game.

Coming out of the locker room, Rosling said he couldn’t believe his kick-return was happening as he ran down the field.

“Honestly it didn’t even feel real,” he said. “I just saw the opening and took it.”

In the final minutes, the Broncs scored again, bringing up the final score.

Going into the playoff deciding matchup against Corvallis, Collins said the Loggers would have to focus on piecing together a full game.

“We always come out strong and struggle in the second half,” he said. “I think if we play our game four quarters we’ll be set.”

The Loggers will hit the road to play Corvallis on Oct. 22.