Monday, November 30, 2020
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Braves lose to Big Sky, end up 0-7

by FRITZ NEIGHBOR
Daily Inter Lake | October 22, 2020 10:00 PM

MISSOULA — They scored a season high and held their first lead of 2020, but the Flathead Braves couldn’t stop Colter Janacaro and the Missoula Big Sky Eagles Thursday.

Janacaro ran for 272 yards and six touchdowns and threw for two more scores for the Eagles, who pulled away in the second half for a 60-41 win at MCPS Stadium.

Flathead, which came into the game with an outside chance at a Western A playoff berth – the Braves needed to beat Big Sky by 12 or more and have Missoula Hellgate lose Friday – ended up 0-7.

The Braves put the pressure on, though, drawing to a 20-20 tie on Nicolas Gustafson’s 75-yard kickoff return and then – after recovering a Big Sky fumble – going up 27-20 on Alec Thomas’ 25-yard scoring run with 2:22 left in the first half.

The lead was short-lived. The Eagles (2-5), getting a short field partly because a personal foul had Flathead kicking off from its own 25, tied the game with 20 seconds left in the half. Janacaro hit Tre Reed with a 6-yard scoring pass.

Big Sky went ahead for good with a drive to open the second half: Janacaro capped it with a 27-yard run. The senior added scoring runs of 28, 43 and 24 yards – the last with just nine seconds left – in the second half. In the first half he had TDs of 4 and 39 yards.

Flathead had many big plays: In addition to his kickoff return Gustafson took a Charlie Hinchey pass 64 yards for a first-quarter TD; Thomas’ 159 rushing yards included a 76-yard scoring run in the first quarter as well.

Those help explain how the Braves forged a 27-27 halftime tie despite running just 15 plays.

Tommy Wells caught four passes for 114 yards, including scoring strikes of 29 and 61 yards in the fourth quarter. Hinchey threw for 204 yards.

The 41 points was the most Flathead scored since its 2018 season. Big Sky, meanwhile, piled up 513 yards of offense. Janacaro had 439 of that – he also threw for 167.

Flathead 13 14 0 14 - 41

Big Sky 14 13 14 19 - 60

MBS - Colter Janacaro 4 run (Harley Bennett kick), 7:10-1Q

F - Alec Thomas 76 run (Connor Skalsky kick), 3:21-1Q

MBS - Janacaro 39 run (Bennett kick), :48-1Q

F - Nicolas Gustafson 64 pass from Charlie Hinchey (pass failed), :32-1Q

MBS - Shawn Huseby 5 pass from Janacaro (kick failed), 4:58-2Q

F - Nicolas Gustafson 75 kickoff return (Skalsky kick), 4:45-2Q

F - Thomas 25 run (Skalsky kick), 2:22-2Q

MBS - Tre Reed 6 pass from Janacaro (Bennett kick), :20-2Q

MBS - Janacaro 27 run (Bennett kick), 9:01-3Q

MBS - Janacaro 28 run (Bennett kick), 1:51-3Q

F - Tommy Wells 29 pass from Hinchey (Skalsky kick), 10:19-4Q

MBS - Janacaro 43 run (kick failed), 9:21-4Q

MBS - Hunter Meinzen 1 run (kick failed), 5:37-4Q

F - Wells 39 pass from Hinchey (Skalsky kick), 4:26-4Q

MBS - Janacaro 24 run (Bennett kick), :09-4Q

Individual Statistics

RUSHING: Flathead (27-149) – Thomas 20-159, Kaden Henshaw 1-minus 3, Ryan Nelson 1-minus 3, Hinchey 5-minus 4; Big Sky (44-346) – Janacaro 28-272, Hunter Meinzen 9-30, Louis Sanders 4-26, Liam Sandovah 1-14.

PASSING: Flathead – Hinchey 7-17-1 for 204 yards. Big Sky – Janacaro 17-22-0 for 167 yards.

RECEIVING: Flathead – Wells 4-114, Gustafson 1-64, Kayden Berkey 1-13, Brady Thornsbery 1-13. Big Sky -- Reed 8-86, Sanders 6-55, Shawn Huseby 2-22, Meinzen 1-2.