Bring it on home

Herders’ add 33-0 shutout victory to Homecoming festivities 

Casey Gunlickson set the tone right off the bat.

After holding the Broadwater offense on a 4th-and-4 attempt, Gunlickson received the handoff from quarterback Blake Finn, and the rest was history. The Herders’ wide receiver took the ball 79 yards on the first play from scrimmage and gave Sweet Grass County High School an early 7-0 lead on the first play from scrimmage. 

What ensued was a shellacking, 33-0 shutout win — on Homecoming night, of all nights — of the Bulldogs (3-2, 2-2 South Region), and the Herders’ (2-3, 1-2 South Region) first regional win. For head coach J.V. Moody and his team, it was certainly a long time coming. 

“That’s the team we know,” Moody said. “That’s the team we see in practice. That’s the effort we see in practice. That’s a team that just hasn’t been able to finish in the games prior. They’ve got it figured out now. And we told them before the start of the game, this is a playoff game. Because we have to win this and we have to win out and guarantee a spot in the playoffs.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Check out all the best photos from the Homecoming halftime celebration and the football game. 

The deck was certainly stacked against the Herders early on in the season. With all three losses coming to  (at the time) Class B Nos. 2, 4 and 5 in the second through fourth weeks of the season, the Herders have been searching for a final gear in the fourth quarter to couple with a less-than-100 percent healthy team. But on Sept. 22 against Broadwater — a team that was No. 9 in the state before falling out of the rankings after losing to No. 4 Manhattan a week prior to coming to Big Timber — the Herders found as close to a complete game as they were going to find. 

SGHS kept it on the ground for most of the night, and without question. Finn was just 4-for-7 through the air with no touchdowns and a pick, but helped facilitate the offense with the help of his backs and offensive line. 

Together, Herder rushers went for 325 yards on the ground and all five touchdowns. John Rennie led the way with 17 carries for 152 yards and two scores, including a 43-yard run that started at his own 1 yard line. 

Gunlickson tallied 135 yards on six carries himself, including this 79-yard burst on the first play of the game. 

Defensively, the Herders were as good as they’d been all season. Orry Carroccia and Finn each had pass deflections on second and third down, late in the game, that kept the shutout in tact. Lineman Shayden King, who recorded four tackles, a quarterback hit and recovered a forced fumble by teammate Ethan Bullock, couldn’t hide the smiles after the victory.

For more of this story, pick up a copy of this week’s Big Timber Pioneer on newsstands now, or subscribe online at bigtimberpioneer.net.

PHOTO CAPTION: John Rennie (44) out runs Broadwater’s Brady Saltzman (8) on a 43-yard rush that started at his own 1 yard line. Rennie rushed for 152 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns in the Herders’ 33-0 win on Homecoming night. 

By STEPHEN KALB-KOENIGSFELD / Pioneer Staff Writer

 

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