Herder loss puts playoffs in question

The Herders were in Columbus Friday night, Oct. 16, to take on the Cougars, but two early fourth-quarter touchdowns were too much for Big Timber to overcome as they lost 27-20.

The loss drops Big Timber to 6-2 this season, and despite their great record, the Herders still have not clinched a playoff spot, making this week’s regular-season finale versus Red Lodge all the more important. 

Against Columbus, the Herders were only out-gained 312-261, and they even converted a higher percentage of their third downs; however, two turnovers were the difference in the game.

The Cougars’ first touchdown drive was capped by a three-yard run by Tanner Osborne. That score was the only score of the opening quarter, but in the second quarter Big Timber was able to answer back with a game-tying touchdown run by Ryan Morgan. 

Morgan scored from 24 yards out for his first of two touchdowns in the game, but Columbus was able to score again before halftime on a touchdown pass of six yards to take a six-point lead into the break after they missed the extra point.

Morgan’s second touchdown was the only touchdown of the third quarter, and after the Herders also missed the extra point, the game was tied going into the fourth quarter.

That is where the game turned for Big Timber. After never trailing by more than a score all game, Columbus scored two back-to-back touchdowns to take a 27-13 lead.

The Herders’ Brent Finn was able to score on a 13-yard touchdown pass, but Big Timber couldn’t complete the comeback.

The Herders were held to just 146 rushing yards in the loss, and they were led by Morgan’s 81 yards. Nathan Baker added 34 yards on 10 carries, while Sam Curry had 18 yards and Brent Finn ran for 13 yards.

In addition to his 81 rushing yards, Morgan also completed six of his 13 pass attempts for 115 yards and a touchdown. Luke Rech caught two of those six completions for 49 yards. Baker caught one pass for 24 yards. Curry also caught one pass for 23 yards and Finn caught two passes for 19 yards.

Colton Bice, Finn and Curry all had three solo tackles to lead the Herder defense. Bice added a tackle for loss, and Morgan was a big part of the defense as well, being in on 11 tackles, but only one was a solo tackle.

If you go:

The Herders take on Red Lodge at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, at home. 

By Thomas Watson / Yellowstone Newspapers

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