Luke Holland dashes down the field against Valier Saturday night in Sunburst.

The Sunburst Refiners lost a Homecoming heartbreaker on Saturday night to the Valier Panthers,  25-24.

Homecoming night was also senior night for the Refiners’ four seniors: Cade Hanson, Wyatt Manthey, Josh Kearns and Moroni Smith. “It was a great night for football and we had a great crowd on hand to cheer on both teams,” said head coach Jason Hanson.

Valier opened the game with two scores, putting Sunburst in a hole. Sunburst answered in the second quarter when Cade Hanson ran in a three-yard touchdown to close the gap.

“We got off to a slow start in the first half with an assortment of turnovers and odd penalties. It was hard to get focused on the game at times and found ourselves down at the half 19-8,” said Hanson. “We regrouped at the half and came out determined to get back into the game and we did just that.”

On the first series of the second half, Hanson ran one 65 yards to the house to make it 19-16. After a Kearns interception on the Refiners’ next defensive series, they drove down the field where Conlin Kerfoot was able to blaze his way into the end zone from three yards out and the Refiners took a 24-19 lead, recapped Hanson.

The Refiners lost that lead late in the third quarter when a fumble was returned for a touchdown by Valier to make the final score 25-24.

“We moved the ball well in the second half of the game, only to have big gains brought back for penalties,” said Hanson. “I credit both our offense and defense for never giving up, all these guys fought hard to the end.” Hanson finished the night with over 190 yards on the ground.

“Kearns, Kerfoot and Sullivan all had big plays as did Luke Holland, Manthey, Smith and Curtis Bouttier,” praised Hanson. “These boys are so fun to coach. We are quickly approaching the end of regular season and I hope we can finish out strong and just enjoy what’s left of it.”

Sunburst will travel to Heart Butte on Saturday, Oct. 16 for a 1 p.m. kick-off.

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