By Brandon Kavanagh
Cut Bank Pioneer Press
The Cut Bank Wolves are headed back to the playoffs after a 66-0 throttling of Harlem last week on Senior Night in their last home game of the year. Senior Colten Barsness led the Wolves’ offensive attack as he racked up six touchdowns in the win. The Wolves will wrap up the regular season this weekend as they travel to Malta before the first round of the Class B Playoffs begins the following weekend.
“I was very proud of the way the boys came out and played the entire game,” said head coach Dylan Johnston. “All of our seniors started the game and played the entire first half. They paved the way for the pace of the game and set the tone for the younger players for the entire contest.”
Barsness scored from six yards out and the local squad went up 6-0 after a blocked PAT. Barsness then scored from 23 yards out and found the pay dirt on the two-point conversion to put the Wolves up 14-0 after the first quarter.
Andrew Andersen opened the second quarter scoring with a two-yard touchdown to push the lead to 20-0, but another blocked PAT kept the lead from extending. Cody Racki picked off a Harlem pass later in the quarter and returned it to the end zone for a 26-0 lead at the half.
Barsness made his way 40-yards to the end zone to open the second half scoring and Racki put a PAT through the uprights for a 33-0 lead. Barsness scored twice more in the quarter, from 32 and 20 yards out, and Racki nailed another PAT to put the Wolves up 46-0. Hayden Hedges found a hole and went 40 yards to the end zone and the lead extended to 52-0 going into the final stanza.
Austin Vanek scored from 48 yards out to open the fourth quarter and a Racki PAT pushed the lead to 59-0. Dillon Gray scored the final touchdown of the game, on a six yard rush, and the PAT gave the Wolves a 66-0 victory.
Cut Bank put up 410 yards of offense, 364 on the ground, led by Barsness who picked up 215 yards on 14 carries. Hedges followed with 70 yards, Vanek had 48 and Bauer Seewald gained 24 yards on two carries.
Seewald also connected on four of nine pass attempts for 46 yards. Hedges led the receiving corps with 27 yards followed by Stephon McGillis with 14 and Coalter Littrell with 13.
The Wolves’ defense forced seven Wildcat turnovers, five fumbles and two interceptions, and held Harlem to -7 yards on the night. The Wildcats gained 39 yards through the air but were pushed back 46 yards on the ground for the game. Kobe Whitford was the defensive player of the game with four solo tackles including two sacks. Andersen followed with three solo tackles and Littrell had two solo tackles, both for a loss. Dayne Barbie, Raice Strand and Brant Seewald also each recorded a sack in the win while Racki and Vanek each picked off a Wildcat pass.
Johnston highlighted Matthew Larson’s play on special teams as the sophomore recovered three onside kicks on the night.
“The younger players really played their hearts out and left it all out on the field for a great senior class that has been critical in the development of the program,” said Johnston. “I am very proud of the job they have done leaving a lasting legacy as to what the Wolves football program encompasses and the team goals we set together.”
The Wolves will head to Malta on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff and then will learn their fate for the first round of the playoffs set for November 2.