Close, but no cigar

To borrow a phrase from Forrest Gump, “Football is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” That certainly was the case until the very end of last Friday’s matchup between the Big Timber Herders and the Columbus Cougars.

But when the final horn sounded it was the Cougars who emerged victorious, edging out a win with a score of 22-20.

In front of an enthusiastic crowd that braved a rainy and windy night to witness a game with playoff implications for the rival teams, the Cougars and Herders traded touchdowns in a game that was every bit as even as the score indicated. In the end, point after touchdown conversions accounted for the margin of victory. 

Following the senior night ceremony honoring Herder players Trever Klein, Billy Stevens, Kane Welch, Tyler Smith and Jess Moody playing their final home game, each team managed a single touchdown in the first quarter. Casey Gunlikson brought it home for the Herders with a 36 yard rushing touchdown.

A scoreless second period left the score 7-6 in favor of the visitors at halftime.

The second half was equally even. Each team scored one touchdown in each of the final two quarters. John Rennie contributed a seven-yard rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion.

Nathan Baker scored the Herders’ final touchdown with less than half a minute remaining in the game, but the two-point conversion attempt was snuffed out by the Cougars. Big Timber was unable to recover the ensuing onside kick and the visitors easily ran out the clock to seal the victory. The difference proved to be the Cougars’ ability to convert one two-point and two one-point conversions; the Herders converted only a single two-point conversion. 

“We left too many points on the field,” observed Herder head coach JV Moody. In addition to the point after touchdown attempts, the Herders were unable to take advantage of an interception by Gunlikson early in the fourth quarter. His runback, accompanied by a 15 yard penalty on the Cougars, gave the home team a first down at the Columbus 31 yard line. However, the Cougar defense stiffened and the Herder opportunity stalled.

 

To read the full story, pick up the Oct. 20 edition of the Pioneer or subscribe to our e-edition. Current subscribers are provided complimentary access to the e-edition with registration.

 

By Pat Hansen / Special to the Pioneer 

 

CUTLINE:

MACKENZIE REISS / Big Timber Pioneer

Herder Casey Gunlikson, center, makes a grab for the ball between two Columbus players during their Oct. 14 game. 

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