(Editor’s note: this article will be updated with scores and highlights as games finish)
Shields Valley 30, Bridger 26
BRIDGER— Shields Valley reigns supreme over the 6-Man South once again.
The Rebels rallied from a 20-8 first-half deficit and survived a Bridger Hail Mary attempt on Friday night on the road to hand the Scouts their first loss of the season, 30-26, and wrap up the 6-Man South regular season title.
“For these seniors and juniors that have won three conference championships in a row, I think that just shows how great of football players they are and where the program is at. I’m just so proud of the program from top to bottom,” Shields Valley head coach Mitch Ward said.
Shields Valley took the game’s opening possession down the field and punched it in on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kaden Acosta to Dylan Flatt. Bridger then rattled off 20 unanswered points, as Baylor Pospisil caught a touchdown pass from Chance Goltz, Rod Zentner plunged in from 2 yards out then Gage Goltz did the same. The Scouts had a 20-8 lead with 3:58 remaining in the first half.
While it looked like Bridger had all the momentum, Shields Valley snatched it right back before halftime. A 5-yard touchdown run by Flatt with 23 seconds left pulled the Rebels to within 20-16 at the break.
“We had our backs against the wall. They were pounding it against us playing more physical and running the ball well. For us to convert and score before halftime to get it to a one-possession game I think really flipped the script and got the momentum back in our favor,” Ward said.
Bridger went ground and pound late in the second half with success but couldn’t find much running room in the second half. A Rod Zentner fumble in Bridger territory set up Flatt’s third touchdown of the night, a 1-yard scoring run, to give the Rebels a 22-20 lead with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
The Scouts quickly answered back, as Chance Goltz hit Lucius Payovich for an 11-yard score with 43 seconds remaining in the period to put the Scouts ahead 26-22. Shields Valley, though, marched down the field and took just over six minutes off the clock before Flatt plunged in from a yard out for his fourth score of the game.
Bridger had a chance at a game-winning score with zeros on the clock after a Shields Valley pass interference penalty, but the Scouts couldn’t come down with Goltz’s heave, giving Shields Valley the conference’s top seed when the playoffs start in two weeks.
“We’d been preparing for Goltz to throw 50-yard bombs against us like he has all season,” Ward said. “We didn’t work much on our run defense. I think they did a really good job of running it down our throats kind of, so we made our adjustment, got back to our normal run defense that we ran against everybody else. We were able to make that change and stop the run.”
Shields Valley (5-1, 3-0 6-Man South) will play host Reed Point-Rapelje on Oct. 22, while Bridger (6-1, 2-1) visits Custer-Hysham.
Big Sandy 46, Valier 14
Richey-Lambert 48, Bainville 0