Columbia Falls Wildcats win round one in the State A playoffs, defeating Corvallis’ 27-26 to earn their first home playoff win since 1970 – the year the Cats hosted Havre for the state championship.
The key factors in the game were many, and I cant possibly mention all of them:
Columbia Falls forced a number of turnovers, and didn’t return the favor.
Corvallis hurt themselves several times with bad snaps in the shotgun formation.
Both teams showed a lot of character during comebacks, Corvallis coming back from a 20-0 halftime deficit, and Columbia Falls picking themselves up from a shattering third quarter to retake the lead.
John Woody coming back from downing a kickoff on the CFalls 1-yard line with a 12 yard 4th down score in the fourth quarter.
An amazing 39 yard pass reception (below) by Tanner Perry (#12, his only catch of the day) that reminded fans of Lynn Swann’s acrobatic catch against the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl. (NOTE: link goes to a shopping site, the only place I was able to find the photo) Perry made the catch of the tipped ball after having to battle two Corvallis defenders who leaped for the ball with him.
It was an exciting, mentally-exhausting game from start to finish. If you weren’t there, you missed the most exciting game I’ve seen in years.
The Cats travel to Billings next weekend to take on the undefeated defending state champs. Despite the tough opponent, don’t write off these Cats. Every week, someone steps up and they find a way to win.
PS: I still have high hopes to see senior offensive lineman Nathan Woods (#75) carry the ball in a short yardage situation.
Below, more photos of the game.
Stephen Baumgartner (#20) strips the Corvallis runner of the ball. Columbia Falls recovered.
In the next 2 photos, Mackey Nolan (#4) powers toward the end zone.
John Woody (#24) tries to high-step out of the grasp of Tyler Bongard (#88).
A little football field ballet from the Corvallis receiver and defender Tanner Perry (#12). The pass fell incomplete.
Kaleb Johnson (#19) battles Corvallis’ Rodee Anderson (#10) for the ball during an onside kick attempt by Corvallis. The ball slid out of bounds and Corvallis took possession, fueling their 3rd quarter comeback
In the next two shots, Mackey Nolan (#4) makes a game-saving tackle as Austin Byron (#11) desperately reaches for the goal line during Corvallis’ two-point conversion attempt. Mackey’s heroics didn’t end there as he fielded Corvallis’ onside kickoff attempt on the ensuing kickoff. The first attempt was recovered by Corvallis, but officials ruled that the ball hadn’t traveled the required 10 yards before the recovery.
An untimely mistake by Corvallis’ Rodee Anderson (#10), roughing kicker Mackey Nolan (#4) with the score 26-20, gave the Cats a second chance at the margin of victory they needed. Mackey got another chance at the point-after conversion and drilled it to make the score 27-20. That seven point difference had a huge impact on the strategy for the next nine minutes of the game, forcing Corvallis to go for two after their touchdown. Notice how Mitchell Wassam (#13) is focused on the kick, despite the intrusion by Anderson.
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