Dillon clips Columbia Falls in OT for State A championship
Columbia Falls' Lane Hoerner makes a catch against Dillon in the first half of the State A championship game in Dillon on Saturday, Nov. 18. (Chris Peterson/Hungry Horse News)
Hungry Horse News | November 18, 2023 6:48 PM
After roaring back from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to tie it, Columbia Falls fell just short in overtime at Dillon in the State A championship football game Saturday, 36-35.
The Beavers' Kee Christiansen punched in a 2-point conversion to cap a perfect season and lift Dillon to its ninth title since 2000.
Coaches, players and fans often use the cliche “hard fought battle,” but the State A title bout was all of that and more.
Columbia Falls scored on its opening drive when senior quarterback Cody Schweikert hit Lane Hoerner with a 6-yard pass in the end zone. Kai Golan’s point-after was good and the Cats were up, 7-0.
Columbia Falls stopped Dillon on its opening drive, and on its next possession drove down to Dillon’s 23-yard line, but Schweikert fumbled on a hard Dillon tackle and the Beavers recovered.
A few plays later, the Beavers scored a touchdown to knot the score at 7-7 with 1:20 left in the first quarter.
Dillon added another touchdown after stopping the Cats, and the game was 14-7 with 6:31 left in the half.
The Cats answered with an 80-yard drive as Schweikert found Mark Robison on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Golan hit the extra point and the game was tied 14-14 at the half, particularly due to Columbia Falls' stellar defense, as Jace Hill has two interceptions to kill two Dillon drives.
Dillon scored just 13 seconds in to the third quarter to take a 21-14 advantage.
The Cats next drive ended when Dillon picked off a tipped Schweikert pass in the end zone. Dillon then drove 80 yards as Christiansen found Max Davis in the end zone on a 20-yard pass to put the Beavers up 28-14 halfway through the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats responded as Schweikert found Hoerner in the corner of the end zone on a perfect pass. Golan’s extra point was wide and the Cats trailed 28-20.
After forcing Dillon to punt, Columbia Falls drove from their own 23 and Schweikert found Hill on 9-yard touchdown pass with just 45 seconds left. Hill then caught the 2-point conversion to tie the game and send it to overtime.
In overtime, each team has a possession at the 10-yard line with four downs.
Columbia Falls had the ball first, and on a fourth-and-1 play Schweikert willed his body into the end zone to put the Cats by seven after Golan hit the extra point.
Dillon countered with a touchdown, and then Christiansen got around the corner and ran into the end zone for the 2-point conversion and the win.
Columbia Falls Head Coach Jaxon Schweikert praised his squad following the tough loss.
“To see them battle to the end was pretty awesome,” he said. “This was a special team in a special place. It was a true, true brotherhood.”
The Beavers last won it all in 2016 in a 34-17 victory over Columbia Falls. The next season the Wildcats won the program’s lone state championship over Hamilton.
C-Falls 7 7 0 14 7 - 35
Dillon 7 7 14 0 8 - 36
CF — Lane Hoerner 6 pass from Cody Schweikert (Kai Golan kick)
D — Kale Konen 29 run (Sawyer Tackett kick)
D — Kee Christiansen 1 run (Tackett kick)
CF — Mark Robison 15 pass from Schweikert (Golan kick)
D — Konen 80 run (Tackett kick)
D — Max Davis 27 pass from Christiansen (Tackett kick)
CF — Hoerner 14 pass from Schweikert (kick failed)
CF — Jace Hill 9 pass from Schweikert (Hill pass from Schweikert)
CF — Schweikert 3 run (Golan kick)
D — Konen 5 run (Christiansen run)
RUSHING: Columbia Falls (25-58) — Cody Schweikert 17-38, Alihn Anderson 7-20, Mark Robison 1-0. Dillon (35-250) — Konen 23-210, Christiansen 12-40.
PASSING: Columbia Falls — Schweikert 39-51-1 for 402 yards. Dillon — Christiansen 7-16-2 for 153 yards.
RECEIVING: Columbia Falls — Hence Miller 8-150, Robson 13-109, Hill 8-72, Hoerner 6-59, Anderson 1-6, Banyan Johnston 2-3. DIllon — Davis 3-61, Cooper Anderson 1-46, Carter Curnow 1-21, Konen 1-14, Ian Singleton 1-11.