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With win over Ronan, Libby undefeated to start the season

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

Two games into their season, the Loggers have given up only one touchdown.

After locking down the East Helena Vigilantes 55-0 on Aug. 27, Libby defeated the Ronan Chiefs 37-6 last Friday.

“The guys react, they do their job,” said defensive coordinator Justin Graham after playing the Chiefs. “I wanted a goose egg, but I want that every time.”

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The Libby Loggers topped the Ronan Chiefs 37-6 on Sept. 3. (Derrick Perkins/The Western News)

Libby went into the Ronan game hoping to establish a passing game, according to offensive coordinator Kyle Hannah. Against East Helena, the Loggers relied heavily on their ground game, throwing the ball only twice.

“We want to be a two-dimensional team, we want to be able to run it and be able to pass it,” Hannah said. “We started out the game by passing and just getting the jitters out of it.”

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The Libby Loggers topped the Ronan Chiefs 37-6 on Sept. 3. (Derrick Perkins/The Western News)

Libby gained the upper hand the first play of the game, recovering a fumbled kick-off. Initially, the Loggers struggle to string together passing plays. But by Libby’s second possession, quarterback Ryder Davis was honing in on his targets and his receivers making catches.

With five minutes remaining in the first quarter, Davis lobbed a 31-yard end zone pass to tight end Cy Stevenson. Referees called off the play due to a blocking penalty.

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The Libby Loggers topped the Ronan Chiefs 37-6 on Sept. 3. (Derrick Perkins/The Western News)

“First half, we were just trying to get the ball in the red zone, just trying to score,” said Stevenson after the game.

Turning to their tried and true running game, the Loggers scored their first touchdown with just over a minute left in the first quarter. After a carry by Stevenson, Davis ran the ball into the end zone from Ronan’s 27-yard line. The extra point kick from Aydan Williamson was good.

The Loggers landed another touchdown five minutes into the second quarter relying on a series of passes and runs. Jace DeShazer brought the ball into the end zone for Libby from inside the five-yard line.

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The Libby Loggers topped the Ronan Chiefs 37-6 on Sept. 3. (Derrick Perkins/The Western News)

During Libby’s next possession, the Loggers worked down the field with Davis keeping the ball for a few plays and completing passes to Sam Rosling and Kaleb Folk. Folk caught the 41-yard touchdown pass for the Loggers with just over a minute left in the half. The two-point conversion play was no good, bringing the score to 19-0.

The Logger defense showed its prowess in the final seconds of the second quarter by holding the Chiefs at the Libby 15-yard line. Levi Manning blocked two potential touchdown passes and Davis knocked down one.

Libby suffered some minor injuries in the beginning of the second half with a couple players taking to the sidelines with cramps.

Early in the third quarter, Stevenson, who doubles as a Logger running back, broke through two lines of Ronan defense and carried the ball for a 53-yard touchdown. The Loggers failed to secure the extra point, giving them a score of 25-0.

Ronan secured their one touchdown of the game from Libby’s 33-yard line with four minutes in the second quarter.

In the fourth quarter, DeShazer secured another touchdown for the Loggers on a run. In the final minutes of the game, Ryan Collins ran the ball 51-yards into the end zone for Libby.

After the game, Collins credited the Loggers offensive line for helping him make the run.

“It felt good to seal a game, it was a good run. But our big guys up front are doing all the hard work,” he said.

Senior Tyler Michalkiewicz said he would have liked to see the Loggers come together better as a team against Ronan.

“We could have done better with less chipping at each other,” he said.

Looking ahead to their Sept. 10 game against Bonners Ferry, Davis said he wanted to see the squad work on their mental game.

“We can still work on our play style, but mentally we have to be locked into the game,” he said.

Graham was hoping to see more aggressive defensive plays and another goose egg.

“I want more sacks,” he said.