Written by 6:00 pm Uncategorized

Dillon dominates Rams to claim 6th state title

J.D. Ferris and the Dillon Beavers picked a really good time to be at their best.

Ferris, Dillon’s junior quarterback, threw two touchdown passes and ran for two TDs Saturday afternoon to lead the Beavers to a 25-13 win over Billings Central in the Class A championship football game at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium.

Ferris’ final touchdown, a two-yard run, gave Dillon a 25-0 lead with 2:20 left in the third quarter.

“That’s the best we’ve played all season,” said Ferris, who finished with 245 yards passing and 73 yards rushing. “We were really clicking on offense today … our offensive line did a great job today just like they have all season.

“And our defense played great. Central is a lot better team than when we played them the first time this season. But we played better, too. This is a lot better feeling than we had last year when we left here.”

Ferris was referring to Central’s 37-7 win in last year’s championship game, also at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium. On Saturday, though, the Beavers proved that their 31-14 regular-season win over Central in September was no fluke.

Ferris fumbled at the end of a first-down run to halt Dillon on the opening drive of the game. But after the Beavers forced a Central punt, he wasted no time atoning for that mistake.

On the first play after Central’s punt, Ferris connected with Mick Paffhausen on a short screen pass that turned into a 71-yard touchdown thanks to perfectly executed blocking by the Beavers and some nifty moves by Paffhausen.

After Central went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, it took Dillon only two plays to score. After a 17-yard pass to Paffhausen to the Rams’ 38, Ferris ran up the middle on a quarterback draw play and sprinted nearly untouched to the end zone.

“That was our offensive line again,” said Ferris. “They gave me time to throw all day and they opened up big holes for the running game.”

Ferris completed 10 of 13 passes for 245 yards. Paffhausen caught four balls for 104 yards and Troy Scott caught two for 71. The Beavers’ Colton Riebe had 57 yards rushing on 14 carries.

Ferris’ second touchdown pass was a 29-yarder to M.J. Simkins with 3:14 left in the half, capping a 78-yard drive. The Beavers misfired on their first three PAT attempts — two kicks and a pass — leaving the score at 18-0.

The failed PATs hardly mattered, though, because the Dillon defense was stonewalling Central’s high-scoring offense. The Rams managed just five first downs and 78 total yards in the first half.

“Our kids really got after it today on defense,” said first-year Dillon coach Rick Nordahl. “Against Central you really have to try to get a lot of guys to the point of attack, and we did that today.

“Our kids competed very hard all day, and they had to because Central’s offense can hurt you real quick if you let up at all. That Ryan kid is a heck of a runner. We did about as good a job of containing him as we could have hoped, and he still had a good day.”

Central star Holden Ryan finished with 94 yards rushing and 80 yards receiving, but the Beavers held him to 33 yards rushing on nine carries in the first half. And for the second time this season, Dillon kept Ryan out of the end zone.

“Their defense was awful stout today. That was the difference,” said Central coach Jim Stanton. “We missed a few opportunities to score, but they didn’t give us many.”

Dillon extended its lead to 25-0 on Ferris’ two-yard run late in the third quarter. That TD was set up by a 66-yard connection from Ferris to Troy Scott to the Central 11.

Central got on the board late in the third quarter with a one-yard touchdown run by Sean Ward, and again with another Ward 1-yard run early in the fourth. The first was set up by a 12-yard pass to the goal line from Michael Stanton to Shelby Zorn, and the second was set up by a 51-yard strike from Stanton to Jacob Hadley.

The Rams were driving for a potential third score, but turned it over on downs in Dillon territory with 2:42 remaining.

“Our kids kept coming until the end … I’m very proud of that,” said Jim Stanton. “Dillon just played really well on both sides of the ball to get that big lead, and it was just too much.

“I’m proud of what our kids did all season. This doesn’t feel good right now, but we still had a great season.”

The state championship is the sixth for Dillon, all coming since 2000. The previous five came under Montana Hall of Fame coach Terry Thomas, who returned to the team during its playoff run to serve as offensive coordinator in the absence of Steve Vezina, who is battling prostate, liver and colon cancer.

As a tribute to Vezina, the Dillon players wore light blue-colored socks — the official color of prostate cancer awareness — throughout their playoff run.

“I know Coach was on their minds today,” said Nordahl. “He’s on all of our minds all the time. It’s been a tough deal for the kids to deal with, but we all did it together. We’re a close group and we lean on each other.

“The kids were able to stay strong and stay focused. They know that’s what Coach wants us to do, and they did it all the way to the end.”

Dillon ends the season with an 11-0 record. Central finishes 9-2, with both losses coming to the Beavers.

The game marked the third straight year, and the fourth in the last seven years, that the two rivals have met in the championship game. The Beavers and Rams have split those four meetings.

It also marked the 11th straight year that either Central or Dillon, or both, have played in the championship.

“We know how hard it is to beat Billings Central,” said Nordahl. “They’re such a quality program and we have so much respect for them. Whenever you beat Central you have to earn it, and our kids earned it today.”

Dillon 25, Billings Central 13

First quarter

Dillon — Mick Paffhausen 71 pass from J.D. Ferris (kick failed), 5:33

Dillon — Ferris 38 run (pass failed), 3:25

Second quarter

Dillon — M.J. Simkins 29 pass from Ferris (kick failed), 3:14

Third quarter

Dillon — Ferris 2 run (Paffhausen kick), 2:20

Central — Sean Ward 1 run (pass failed), 34.6

Fourth quarter

Central — Ward 1 run (Benton Braesicke kick), 6:16

Team statistics

Individual statistics

Rushing — Dillon: J.D. Ferris 12-73, Colton Riebe 14-57, Jason Ferris 1-9. Billings Central: Holden Ryan 18-94, Sean Ward 13-40, Kyle Gunderson 2-10, Michael Stanton 5-6, Brian Campbell 1-0, Jesse Byorth 1-(-3), Bryce Hawbaker 2-(-4).

Passing — Dillon: J.D. Ferris 10-13-1, 245 yards. Billings Central: Michael Stanton 6-11-1, 144 yards; Bryce Hawbaker 1-2-0, 19 yards; Holden Ryan 0-1-0, 0 yards.

Receiving — Dillon: Mick Paffhausen 4-104, Troy Scott 2-71, M.J. Simkins 3-48, Colton Riebe 1-22. Billings Central: Holden Ryan 3-80, Jacob Hadley 1-51, Shelby Zorn 1-21, Colin Holetz 1-11.

Visited 2 times, 1 visit(s) today