Football Roundup: Bridwell Breaks TD Records in Columbia Falls Playoff Victory

Senior quarterback passes for eight touchdowns, including five to Braxton Reiten, as Wildcats advance in playoffs

By Dillon Tabish
Dakota Bridwell looks for an open receiver. Columbia Falls defeated Whitefish 42-0 on Oct. 7, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Columbia Falls senior quarterback Dakota Bridwell threw for a state-record eight touchdowns, including five to senior receiver Braxton Reiten, to lead the Wildcats to a 55-14 victory over Corvallis in the opening round of the Class A football playoffs on Friday night.

Bridwell’s eight TDs is the most on record for a game, according to the Montana High School Association. He twice previously tied for the best single game accomplishment with seven TD passes, which only two others in state history have reportedly achieved. For the season, Bridwell has 40 TD passes in nine games, which is a Class A record. The all-class state record is 41, set by Glacier’s Brady McChesney in 13 games in 2013.

Reiten’s five TD receptions also stands out as an all-class state record, alongside Craig Smith of Cut Bank (2005). His season total of 17 TDs also ties a state record with Bill Arvish of Hamilton (1987).

The big victory propelled Columbia Falls (8-1) to the second round, where the Cats will clash with Sidney (8-1) on the road next weekend.

Against Corvallis, Bridwell was 19 of 26 for 371 yards. Reiten caught five passes for 163 yards. Trey Gates had five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Trevor Hoerner also caught a 28-yard TD. Columbia Falls tallied 497 yards of offense and the defense limited Corvallis to 195 yards.

In other Class A playoff action, Billings Central defeated Miles City 43-19 in the first round. Billings Central will travel to Polson in this week’s quarterfinals. Laurel defeated Lewistown 54-6. Dillon will host Laurel. Hamilton hosts Butte Central on Oct. 29.

Glacier 47, Missoula Big Sky 7

Drew Turner rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns to help the Wolfpack defeat the Eagles and secure home field advantage in the Class AA playoffs.

Glacier finished the record season at 9-1 overall and locked up the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, which begin next week. Glacier will host Missoula Sentinel (6-4) on Nov. 4 with kickoff at 7 p.m.

Against Big Sky, Turner sparked the offensive output with a 68-yard TD in the second quarter. Quarterback Tadan Gilman added a rushing TD and finished 13 of 19 for 306 yards passing with three TDs. Scout Willcut, Ethan Larson and Andrew Durado each had touchdown receptions for Glacier, which piled up 513 yards of offense.

In the Class AA playoffs, Billings Senior holds the No. 1 seed and will host Big Sky on Nov. 4. Bozeman will host Helena on Nov. 4 and Billings West will host Helena Capital on Nov. 5.

Missoula Sentinel 17, Flathead 10

Mitch Roberts rushed in a five-yard touchdown to sink Flathead in overtime in the regular-season finale.

Quarterback Bridger Johnson connected with Cain Roettig on a three-yard TD in the second quarter and kicker Cody Cusker nailed a 30-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 10-all.

The defeat ended Flathead’s season at 3-7 overall.

Bigfork at Fairfield; Eureka hosts Malta

The Vikings (7-1) are in Fairfield on Saturday to play the defending Class B state champs (8-0) in the opening round of the Class B playoffs. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

Eureka, the Western 7B champs at 7-1, hosts Malta (5-3) at 1 p.m.

»»» Click here to view a bracket of the Class B playoffs.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.