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Gazette Staff

Are we ready for another down-to-the-last-play finish?

That's what Skyview and West have done the last three years and perhaps tonight's contest will be in the same mold.

Skyview won last year 15-13 when Matt Lebsock hit Dan McInerney on an 11-yard scoring pass with one second remaining. In 2001, the Bears outlasted the Falcons 28-27 in double overtime and three years ago Kendall Selle's pass to Dustin Michaelis with no time left gave West a 33-28 victory.

This year, however, Skyview enters as a clear favorite, at least on paper. The Falcons are 6-2 overall and 5-2 in the league and have secured a playoff berth. The Bears, on the other hand, are fighting for their playoff lives with a 3-4 record (4-4 overall).

"It'll be a chore," said Skyview coach Ron Lebsock. "West has been scoring some points in the last couple games. We'll have to maintain possession and we'll have to stop them."

West has scored 28, 44, 38 and 33 points in its last four games. The Bears have also given up 86 points in their last two outings and Skyview's offense has been effective all season.

That's what worries West coach Paul Klaboe.

"They get off the ball well," Klaboe said. "The key is stopping the fullback (Shawn Lebsock). We can't let them pop a big play. That's what hurt us last week."

West gave up two long touchdown runs in the final minutes in a 48-33 loss to Senior.

Lebsock is sixth in league rushing with 664 yards. Quarterback Shaun Newell and running backs Jeff Price and Derek Maciel are threats as well. The Falcons average a league-best 337.5 yards a game on the ground and they've been limited to less than 20 points in only one game, a 34-14 season-opening loss to Bozeman.

West will rely on the passing of Casey Chaffin, who threw for 326 yards against Senior. Receivers Keil Backer and Mike Stoecker are capable of making big plays.

The running game hasn't been as effective lately. D.J. Bergen left last week's game after one play.

Klaboe said he has a shoulder injury, but has practiced this week.

"It's a passing offense, but we will need to run the ball," Klaboe said.

John Rhine is West's top rusher with 464 yards. Bergen has gained 283 yards and Chaffin has 110.

Colstrip (3-4) at Central (5-2) The game is at Rocky Mountain College's Klindt Field at 1 p.m. Saturday, and not because Daylis Stadium got muddied up last weekend: Central activities director Tracy Scott scheduled it at the start of the season.

The last time Central played a home game at Rocky, Colstrip coach Mark Ator was a Sidney assistant when the Eagles came to town. Sidney needed a win to make the playoffs; the Eagles won, and went onto win the third of their seven straight titles from 1987-93.

This year's Colstrip Colts are mathematically eliminated, and the host Rams have clinched the Eastern A's No. 2 slot in the playoffs. "Our playoff game's Saturday," Ator said. "We're playing for pride."

The Colts do have some offensive standouts, like quarterback Craig Parry, who has thrown for 886 yards and passed for 413. His average of 182.7 offensive yards leads the Eastern A. "Craig's done a great job this year, really," Ator said. "He's thrown and ran and done a lot of things for us." Josh Bauer has 414 rushing yards for the Colts, who are 1-3 in conference play and 3-4 overall. C.J. Goodheart, Willy Terrett, Darren Criswell and Shayne Kapptie have combined for nine touchdown receptions.

Central is 3-1 and 5-2, and coming off a 40-28 loss at Miles City. Mac Dye continues to lead the Rams in rushing with 478 yards, and had two scoring receptions last week. Kyle Bushman has 10 rushing touchdowns for Central, which lost to Colstrip 26-14 in their regular-season finale in 2002.

Laurel (4-4) at Belgrade (7-1) Laurel (3-1 in the Central A, 4-4 overall) has clinched a playoff spot, but could move up to the No. 2 seed with a win over Belgrade (4-0, 7-1). A Laurel win would hand Havre the conference title as well.

"We can't turn the ball over, can't have a lot of penalties — and we have to tackle," Locomotives' coach Mike Ludwig said. "If we go over there and play an error-free ball game, we should be in the hunt."

Tackling Belgrade's 210-pound Jake Kallestad in particular is key: The senior has 1,229 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. "If you don't grab onto him and hold on, and let two or three other people come over, you're in trouble," Ludwig said.

Laurel has its own firepower in tailback Jake Bickford, who has rushed for 912 yards. Quarterback Zach Miles has thrown for 508 yards and six touchdowns (with seven interceptions); fullback Miles Fox has 354 rushing yards.