LAUREL – The Glendive football team was not a popular pick to upset Laurel on Saturday.
Just ask the players.
But as good teams do, the Red Devils used that doubt to fuel themselves in the week prior to their Class A opening round playoff game with the Locomotives.
And the results, were ever so sweet.
Glendive, the No. 6 seed from the Eastern Division, upset No. 3 Laurel 28-20 on Saturday night at the Laurel Sports Complex. The win marked the first time Glendive had won a playoff game since 1995, and the game itself was the Red Devils' first since 1996.
“It feels great, you know,” receiver Robby Keiser said as Glendive fans and players celebrated around him in Laurel’s parking lot. “First one in 21 years. I’m just glad to bring a little pride to Glendive.
“We had a good week of practice, and we came in and we were all really excited in the locker room. We came out and just got after them.”
Glendive finished the game with 306 yards on the ground and 391 yards overall. Quarterback Cade Dockter finished the game with 85 yards passing and a score, finding Keiser to put Glendive up 21-13 before halftime. Dockter also ran for 129 yards and a touchdown to pad Glendive’s lead with its final score.
“It’s something that hasn’t been done for a long time in our community. There was a lot of people behind us which was great,” Dockter said. “I’ve never been this happy. It’s something I can’t explain. We got a lot of work to do still, but that’s huge for us to come in like that and get a win over Laurel.”
Karsen Kelly added 120 yards on the ground for Glendive, which seemed to run the ball at will against Laurel thanks to some good offensive line play. The Red Devils trailed 7-0 after Laurel quarterback Gage Hull scrambled for an 8-yard touchdown. However, two touchdown runs from Nelson Crisafulli put the Red Devils up 14-7 midway through the second quarter.
Laurel responded with a 52-yard connection between Hull and Deklan Harper to make it 14-13, but that’s as close as the Locomotives got. Hull finished the game 18 for 32 for 210 yards and two scores, his second finding Noah Gunther with 18 seconds left to play.
Glendive recovered the ensuing onside kick, and the party was on.
“It’s pretty cool,” said an emotional Ryan Buckley, Glendive’s coach. “I’m really proud of our kids. They’ve gone through a lot and we’ve just battled. I kept telling them this will happen if you guys keep working. I’m very happy now that it’s happened for them.”
Buckley, a Glendive native, was on that 1995 Glendive team that made the state championship. He said this year's Red Devils had nothing to lose, so they played like it.
“Laurel’s a great team. People in their right mind probably wouldn’t have picked us,” Buckley said with a laugh.
Glendive (5-5) will travel to Hamilton (8-1) next week for a quarterfinal match. Laurel ends its season 7-3.
“Hats off to Glendive,” Laurel coach Mike Ludwig said. “They played really well today. We didn’t play great. We had some moments and some spurts. It just wasn’t our night tonight.”