Monday, December 11, 2023

Wildcats hammer Bulldogs 42-0 in playoffs

| November 1, 2023 2:00 AM

The Columbia Falls football team hammered Whitefish 42-0 in the first round of the state A playoffs Friday night at home.

The Wildcats scored early and often against the Bulldogs, while the defense held them to just a couple first downs in the entire first half. The win avenged a 20-14 regular season loss in OT to the Bulldogs.

The Cats racked up 21 points in the first half as senior quarterback Cody Schweikert hit Mark Robison on a 19-yard TD pass in the first quarter. Then Schweikert ran it in from 15 yards out at the 10:35 mark in the second and capped off another nice drive with a 1-yard run at the 2:33 mark in the second to make it 21-0 at the break. Kicker Kai Golan was perfect in point -after kicks.

In the second half, Schweikert found Jace Hill on a 22-yard pass early in the third and then ran it in from 2 yards out with 4:16 left in the third as the rout was on.

Banyan Johnston came off the bench in the fourth and the young quarterback had a 3-yard TD run to cap off the scoring for the Cats.

Golan was perfect on point-afters in the second half, too.

Schweikert was 18 of 20 passing on the night for 216 yards and rushed for 75 yards. Robison had 75 yards receiving and Alihn Anderson had 54 yards receiving and another 19 rushing for Columbia Falls. On defense the Cats recovered a fumble on a strip sack by Lane Voermans and Schweikert nabbed an interception on a deflection by Chance Miller.

The Cats now make the long road trip to Billings Central to face the undefeated Rams. Central had a bye entering the playoffs. Their last win was a 42-6 drubbing of Custer County.

The Rams are led by senior quarterback Adam Balkenbush who has thrown seven TD passes this season. He has a passing percentage of 62.5% and a quarterback rating of 118.9.

He also leads the team in rushing with 60 yards per game.

His key targets are Brayden Flores and Ayden Salter. Defensively, Flores leads the team in interceptions with four, while outside linebacker Jack Debourg has 70 tackles on the year.

Schweikert has a quarterback rating of 148.2 and a passing completion percentage of 79.3. He has thrown for 20 touchdowns and run for 16 more. Hill leads the team with eight TD catches. Outside linebacker Lane Hoerner leads the team with seven quarterback hurries and Hunter Goodman and Schweikert both average about 6 tackles a game.Hill is averaging 70 yards catching per game, while Schweikert also leads the team in rushing with 60 yards per game.

Coach Jaxon Schweikert noted that while the completion percentage is “unchartered territory,” it couldn’t be done without a great offensive line and receivers that consistently get open and can catch the ball.

“You’ve got to have a great offensive line,” he said.

He said the squad is great at picking up the blitz and knowing their blocking schemes.

The Cats’ defense has been playing lights out as well, which helps the offense, too.

“We’ve been playing defense at a really high level, a really high rate. We’re really tuned in. They’re committing really well and flying to the ball, not overplaying,” coach Schweikert said.

The Cats just have to play smart football against Central, he said. Limit the mistakes, because he doesn’t expect the Rams to beat themselves with mistakes. Central is a good football team. It should be a great game.

Coach Schweikert said they’ll leave early Friday morning, have lunch in Butte and then get a practice in at Lockwood later that day. He credited offensive line coach Kelly Houle with taking care of all of the logistics of the trip.

Game time is 1 p.m. Saturday on the Rocky Mountain College campus field. Fans can also listen on KOFI radio.

Whitefish    0    0    0    0    -    0

Col. Falls    7    14    14    7    -    42

CF — Mark Robison 19 pass from Cody Schweikert (Kai Golan kick), 7:03-1Q

CF — Schweikert 15 run (Golan kick), 10:35-2Q

CF — Schweikert 2 run (Golan kick), 2:33-2Q

CF — Jace Hill 22 pass from Schweikert (Golan kick), 10:40-3Q

CF — Schweikert 2 run (Golan kick), 4:16-3Q

CF — Banyan Johnston 3 run (Golan kick), 6:03-4Q

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