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West vs. Senior

Billings West's Michael DeLeon dodges a tackle by Billings Senior's Reece Connolly at Wendy's Field at Daylis Stadium on Friday.

BILLINGS — For a half, Billings Senior was giving top-ranked Billings West all it could handle. Even for some of the second half Golden Bears quarterback Josh Erbacher was on the run, eyes darting for open receivers while he avoided Broncs defenders.

In the end, though, like West’s first four games of the season, the scoreboard Friday night told the story of a team that continually finds a way to make plays: West 33, Senior 14.

There wasn’t a whole lot that seemed fluid or orchestrated from the West side, other than somehow getting to the end zone. Erbacher threw for four touchdowns and ran for a fifth, Hunter Morse caught two touchdown passes, and Taco Dowler seemed to come up big everywhere to help the Golden Bears remain unbeaten (5-0). Demarcus Carr added a touchdown reception and 75 rushing yards.

“You look at it, and we have playmakers all around,” said Erbacher, who threw for 338 yards. “Connor (Ryan) didn’t even have a touchdown tonight and he’s the best receiver in the state. That’s what’s amazing about this team is we have weapons all the way around.”

This is true, but for a while those weapons were kept under wraps. It was 12-0 at halftime, and when Michael Ohlin threw the first of his two TD passes to Junior Bergen with 3:44 left in the third quarter, West's lead was a precarious 12-7.

But Dowler took the ensuing kick 62 yards to the Broncs’ 25, and four plays later Erbacher hit Morse for the second time for a 19-7 lead. Senior was forced to punt on its next possession, and a 36-yard punt return by Dowler left the Bears with another short field, which eventually led to Erbacher’s 4-yard run and a 26-7 lead. On the drive, which started at the Senior 40, the Broncs had 3rd-and-31 and 4th-and-18, but Zack Tallman caught a 22-yard pass to convert the first down.

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The Bears kept coming. Cole Curry recovered a fumble deep in Senior territory on the Broncs’ next possession and that set up West’s final score, a 25-yard pass from Erbacher to Carr for a 33-7 lead.

The dam had burst, starting with Dowler’s long kick return.

“We talk a lot about adversity, how we respond to adversity,” West coach Rob Stanton said. “They get it down to one score and we get a nice kick return. (Senior) definitely had the momentum, and what we preach, they definitely made us look good, because we got the momentum back right after that play.”

West allowed Senior 124 total yards, which included a net minus-7 yards rushing. Ohlin finished 20 for 31 for 131 yards, with TD passes of 12 and 42 yards to Bergen. Neil Daily picked off one of Ohlin’s passes to finish Senior’s final possession.

“I’m proud of the way our kids competed,” said Senior coach Chris Murdock. “I think our front six on defense was really good. I think there were times, too, where our guys fired off and played really physical. Special teams definitely hurt us tonight and some of the breakdown coverage-wise. I take that as a coach that’s on me as a coach, especially the special teams and the miscommunications.”

Senior (2-3) plays Billings Skyview next Friday. West travels to Great Falls.

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Email Mike Scherting at mike.scherting@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsSchert

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