By DAVID LESNICK
The Daily Inter Lake
BIGFORK — Everything just clicked for Bigfork.
Randy Stultz scored four touchdowns and Anders Epperly threw for three more as the Vikings crushed Townsend 47-13 in first-round action of the Class B football playoffs on Saturday afternoon.
Bigfork (8-1) gave up a 12-play, 63-yard touchdown drive to Townsend (5-4) to open the game, but it was all Bigfork after that.
Stultz had touchdown runs of 3, 36 and 5 yards and returned a punt 74 yards for another.
He also caught a two-point conversion pass from Epperly after one of his scores.
“I give all the credit to the big guys up front,” Stultz said.
“They blocked well today, better than I have seen in a long time.”
Epperly connected with tight end Brady Thorness on two scoring passes, 27 and 28 yards, and lofted a perfect strike to wide receiver Colton Reichenback, who made an over the shoulder catch in stride, for an 18-yard scoring play.
Bigfork held a commanding 33-6 lead at the half.
“We played a nice defensive game,” Bigfork coach Todd Emslie said.
“The offense was great. It was a good, well-executed game on our part.”
Jimmy Abney and Luke Benson had fumble recoveries that led to Bigfork touchdowns, as did a recovery by Levi Taylor on a Bigfork kickoff.
Stultz had another defensive takeaway with an interception to cancel a scoring drive by Townsend.
“That hurt them,” Emslie said.
“In the playoffs, you can’t turn it over.”
Stultz finished with 145 yards rushing on 13 carries and caught a short pass that he turned into an 87-yard gain to set up his 3-yard scoring run.
“Stultz came to play today,” Emslie said.
“He does a lot for us.”
Epperly was 8 of 9 passing for 191 yards.
“He threw the ball very well,” Emslie said of his senior quarterback. “He’s like having another coach on the field.”
Thorness had two receptions for 55 yards. Colton Reichenbach had two catches for 23 yards and Clayton Reichenbach two for 13.
Bigfork amassed 389 yards of total offense — 191 passing and 198 rushing. Townsend had 282 yards — 163 passing and 119 rushing.
“I never felt we had full control until the third quarter,” Stultz said.
“The end of the third quarter, I was confident we would get the win.”
These two teams met back on Oct. 5 in Townsend with Bigfork winning 21-14. Stultz had two rushing touchdowns in that one, but only 89 yards on the ground on 18 carries.
“We were coming off a bye week the last time we played them,” Stultz said.
“We were a little flat. Our offense struggled and we made mistakes in the red zone.”
Bigfork advances to quarterfinal play on Saturday at Roundup, a 60-14 winner over Cut Bank.
“In the second quarter, we took the game over,” Stultz said of this one.
“The seniors leading the team turned up the intensity and energy.”
Townsend 6 0 0 7 — 13
Bigfork 14 19 8 6 — 47
T — Tyson Racht 4 run (kick failed)
B — Randy Stultz 3 run (Jacob Herd kick)
B — Brady Thorness 27 pass from Anders Epperly (Herd kick)
B — Colton Reichenbach 18 pass from Epperly (kick failed)
B — Thorness 28 pass from Epperly (Herd kick)
B — Stultz 74 punt return (kick failed)
B — Stultz 36 run (Stultz pass from Epperly)
B — Stultz 5 run (kick failed)
T — Kameron Rauser 21 pass from Racht (Nate Hill kick)
Manhattan 33, Eureka 6
MANHATTAN — Michael Nehring ran for two touchdowns and passed for another as Manhattan toppled Eureka, the two-time defending state champions, in first-round play of the Class B postseason.
Manhattan led 12-0 after the first quarter and 18-0 after three.
Eureka’s touchdown came with 2:25 to play on an 8-yard pass from Hank Dunn to Terell Helgert.
Both teams are 6-3.
Dunn was 11 of 28 passing for 179 yards. He was intercepted three times.
Jake Kindel had four receptions for 62 yards. AJ Pacella caught three passes for 71 yards.
Manhattan advances to quarterfinal action on Saturday at Fairfield, a 40-0 victor over Red Lodge in first-round play.
Eureka 0 0 0 6 — 6
Manhattan 12 0 6 15 — 33
M — Clay Johnson 9 pass from Michael Nehring (kick failed)
M — Nehring 1 run (pass failed)
M — David Aamot 6 run (pass failed)
M — Garrit Weeda interception return (Aamot pass from Nehring)
M — Nehring 7 run (Dalton Mitchell kick)
E — Terell Helgert 8 pass from Hank Dunn (pass failed)