04/23 XTREME @ AVALANCHE
GREAT NORTH CONFERENCE
Billings Xtreme-16, Big Sky Avalanche-8
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Boulder, Montana- Jefferson High School Field
The Big Sky Avalanche hosted their fourth and final home game of the 2016 RMFL regular season on a sloppy, wet Jefferson High School field on Saturday night under the lights. Big Sky played host to the Billings Xtreme, who achieved their first victory of the season last week in Columbia Falls, MT against the Flathead Monsters, 42-25. The Avalanche, who were shutout 55-0 last week against the Great Falls Gladiators, were in search of their first victory of the season with less than ideal field conditions of Panther Field.
The first six possessions of the game featured multiple 3-and-outs, punting situations, fumbled exchanges, and also a failed fourth down attempt before the first points were scored. With a little over four minutes left in the first quarter, the Avalanche were forced to punt for a third time in the game. David Nelson attempted to kick the ball downfield when Xtreme DB Tevin Scaggs broke through the line and blocked the punt. The ball was then recovered by Xtreme DE Tusi Ah-Mai at the Avalanche 10-yard line and a chance for the Billings offense to produce points off of the miscue. On the very next play, Xtreme RB Dedric Bergen took the handoff and bounced his way into the endzone for 6 points. David Henkel’s extra point made the score 7-0 with 3:16 remaining in the first quarter.
Big Sky was forced to punt once again on their next possession after being pushed 18 yards behind the line of scrimmage on a negative run, a sack, and a false start penalty. Billings’ next possession was aided by a personal foul on the Avalanche that would place the Xtreme near the redzone. However, the Avalanche defense was able to hold Billings to a 44-yard field goal attempt by Henkel, which then sailed wide of the uprights with 0:57 left in the first quarter.
There were four possessions that passed before points were placed on the board. The Avalanche were able to sustain a successful scoring drive to find momentum and maintain a close affair. On the 5-play drive, QB Brandon McBride and TE Nick Alamia connected on two occasions, one for 4 yards and the other on an 11 yard pass to get the Avalanche inside the 5-yard line. On the next play, McBride attempted a sneak up the middle that was stopped 2 yards short of the endzone. In the process, McBride tangled with DT Rico Letuli of the Xtreme, who would leave the game with an injury. The next play from scrimmage resulted in a power run up the middle by Alamia for the 2-yard score. The PAT snap was botched and controlled by McBride, who hit RB James King in the endzone for the successful 2-point conversion. Big Sky took the 8-7 lead into the locker room at the half.
The Avalanche received the opening kickoff in the second half and put together a strong drive to find points. McBride connected with Alamia for the third time, this one for 12 yards and a first down from a 3rd down conversion. David Weinmeister, Patrick Franqui, and James King shared carries that gained 14 total yards for another first down. However, on the next set of downs, the Avalanche failed to pick up the first down as McBride was intercepted by Xtreme LB Jordan Betz to close the 10-play drive.
Billings capitalized on the turnover, driving 66 yards for their second score and the lead in the game. Bergen’s 33-yard run on 2nd down from the Xtreme 36 generated momentum for the Xtreme offense. On the next play QB Shaun Sideris completed a 28-yard pass to WR Jordan Tallon to place the ball on the 4-yard line, which on the next play the Xtreme would score as Bergen punched through the enzone for 6 points. Henkel’s PAT put the Xtreme ahead 14-8 with 5:44 left in the 3rd quarter.
On the ensuing drive, the Avalanche were pinned inside the 5-yard line as a result of a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty after the Xtreme score, as well as a 7-yard loss on a botched exchange between King and McBride. The next play resulted in an intentional grounding penalty in the endzone with the Xtreme defensive pressure making it difficult to escape. These were the final points of the game, as Billings extended their lead 16-8 with 4:40 left in the 3rd quarter.
Big Sky came close to scoring points after a missed field from 26 yards out by Tim Johnson and a drive that was stalled as a result of another errant throw from McBride that landed in the open arms of Xtreme CB Stephen Goodell to seal the game.
This week, the Billings Xtreme will host the Idaho Mustangs, who beat the previously undefeated Mini Cassia Diggers 7-5 on Saturday, at Daylis Stadium in Billings, MT at 5pm. The Big Sky Avalanche will travel to Smithfield, UT to face the Logan Stampede at Sky View High School at 7pm.