BILLINGS — Add Alex Watterson and Shawn Anderson to the list of Billings Senior Broncs who are stepping up in their new-found playing time.
Watterson, a defensive back, had a forced fumble while Anderson, a defensive lineman, had two sacks a a fumble recovery as Senior's defense halted crosstown rival Billings West 35-3 in a Class AA football matchup on Friday at Wendy's Field at Daylis Stadium for its 23rd consecutive win.
The win gives Senior a perfect 10-0 regular season record for the second straight year as the Broncs will take on the Bozeman Hawks (5-5) next week in the opening round of the AA playoffs. It was the third straight year Senior has won the Daylis Bowl.
"As a high school coach, you're so happy for the kids because you watch them put in the work for four years and they get to be part of it and have this moment," Senior coach Chris Murdock said. "Just super happy for those guys and our coaching staff that works tirelessly."
Nolan Askelson finished with 207 yards passing and 52 yards rushing, throwing for a score to Adan Trevizo and two interceptions while also running for a pair of scores. Gabe Sulser finished with over 100 yards of total offense and a touchdown run as well.
Defensively the Broncs were solid, holding West to only 148 total yards on offense while forcing two turnovers and only nine first downs on the night. They made life tough on West quarterback Alex Bruns all evening, especially the defensive line. A lot of that pressure came from Anderson, who just recently saw more playing time.
"It was just a good opportunity to come out and show them what I can do," Anderson said. "I've never gotten to play almost a full game like that before so tonight was pretty special.
"I'm proud of myself and my team and hopefully there's more to come as we start going into the playoffs."
It took six plays for Senior to score to open the game, a one-yard run from backup QB Cade Torgerson. West responded with a 43-yard field goal from Cody Gagnon, its only points of the game.
West's defense held tough early in the game, but eventually Senior was too much. The Golden Bears got interceptions from Si Ryan and Trevin Gradney. West finishes the regular season 6-4 and will play at Helena (7-2) to open the playoffs.
And for players like Watterson and Anderson, they are new faces making an impact in what's been a historic streak for a team looking for its second straight title.
"It just felt good and just play how we play," Watterson said. "It felt kind of good to step up and show the people the depth we had last year. People were kind of questioning us this year but some of us just stepped up and did what we had to do to get the win.
"It feels good to continue what the other guys were doing and keep the program rolling."