South ends losing streak to North with runaway victory, 27-8

2014-06-14T19:00:00Z 2014-06-17T16:04:04Z South ends losing streak to North with runaway victory, 27-8By BILL BIGHAUS bbighaus@billingsgazette The Billings Gazette

In making his farewell to football, Christian Olson went out in a blaze of big plays.

The senior defensive back from Colstrip intercepted three passes -- helping to set up one touchdown -- and the South went on to end a four-game losing streak to the North, winning 27-8 on Saturday afternoon in the 26th Big Sky Class B All-Star Football Game.

There was no lack of star power on Rocky Mountain College's Herb Klindt Field, but the South, which tied the series at 13 wins apiece, prospered the most behind a number of explosive playmakers.

That included Olson, who accounted for three of the South's five interceptions. He said he didn't receive any offers to play college football, so he's headed to Montana State Northern to focus on academics.

"It was a great way to go out," he said with a grin. "I didn't think I'd have that big of a game, but I knew that I'd have a good game just knowing it was my last."

It was also a grand finale as a prep player for Dickinson State-bound Jordan Walker, whose quickness and agility at quarterback led to 114 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.

The South, which also received 99 yards rushing and a touchdown from Mason Melby, jumped ahead 21-0 in the first half, which ended with the players being briefly pelted by pea-sized hail and heavy rain.

There were two interceptions by the South in the first half -- and three more in the second.

"We knew our linebackers would help us if we had any short routes -- and that's what they did," the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Olson said. "They kept the quarterbacks scrambling, and that's all we needed."

On the offensive end, the South rushed for 375 yards and gained 448 yards overall. The North ended up with 151 yards -- 55 of it rushing.

"Our offensive line did really good in the first half," said Walker, who is from Baker. "They got everything rolling good. They were making good blocks and making life pretty easy for all of us backs.

"Our defense did a great job the whole game, shutting them down and holding them to eight points. Five picks, that's pretty incredible."

The South's first points -- a 32-yard field goal by Baker's Melby -- was set up by Mitchel Arlian's interception.

On its ensuing possession, the South drove the ball 87 yards on 11 plays for the game's first touchdown. Forsyth's Luke Schwagler tallied the TD on a 17-yard scamper around the right end to make it 9-0.

Behind the quarterback keepers of Baker's Walker and the quick bursts up the middle by his high school teammate Melby, the South quickly ran the count to 21-0 midway through the second quarter.

Walker scored on a 4-yard keeper to open up a 15-0 lead, and Melby followed three minutes later with his 7-yard scoring run.

Along with Schwagler, who is speedy in getting to the outside, the South's running attack was dynamic and dominate throughout the afternoon.

"That's always a great thing to have," Walker said of the South's versatility on the ground.

The score stood at 21-0 until early in the fourth quarter when the North's Trey Howard rolled out and connected with Pat Kosena on an 8-yard scoring pass. Connor Benn ran for the two-point conversion.

"Our offense just never got rolling," North coach Paul Schilling said. "I was a little disappointed in that."

The South's final touchdown came shortly after Baker's Jonathan Wiseman picked off a pass on the North's 25. Three plays later, Walker ran 18 yards up the middle to the end zone.

"We stopped their streak," Olson said. "Let's start a new one."

It was the final game as a coach for Schilling, who has spent the past 26 years at Cut Bank.

"This game, along with all the ones I've coached, are just so special," he said. "Each one has created its own memories. It's going to be tough to walk off the field. I'm going to take it a little slow." 

NOTES: Melby, who was shaken up on a running play late in the game, was chosen as the offensive MVP for the South. Olson was the South's defensive MVP. ... Morgan Schenk of Fairfield was the offensive MVP for the North, while Ronan's Connor Benn was the defensive MVP.  Nathan Veit of Malta and John Brennan of Whitehall were the scholarship recipients. ... Rocky's Brian Armstrong and Carroll's Mike Van Diest were among the college coaches in attendance.

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