Big Sky Avalanche-0, Great Falls Gladiators-48
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Memorial Stadium- Great Falls, Montana

Courtesy of Lee Vernoy, Great Falls Tribune Sportswriter.


The rain finally subsided Saturday evening, and the Great Falls Gladiators took full advantage. Even without veteran quarterback Shane Jurasek.


Richard Downing III rushed for one score, picked up a punt and ran it back 64 yards for another, and the Gladiators rode a 35-0 halftime lead to a 48-0 shutout victory over the Big Sky Avalanche to clinch the Montana Division of the Rocky Mountain Football League Great North Conference Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.


The win, the 50th career win for head coach Jason “Doc” Kjono, keeps the Gladiators undefeated (7-0) with one game remaining on their schedule, that coming June 4th against the Flathead Monsters in Columbia Falls.

JJ Dorsch, the former Bozeman High star, pinch-hit for Jurasek under center and ran for one touchdown and threw for two more, hitting Marshane Haynes from 28 yards out, then made a 30-yard pass to Downing in the fourth. Dorsch had five completions in eight tries for 94 yards.


“We’re just a team full of role players out here,” Dorsch said. “Everyone is for the team 100 percent. We realize that (each one of us is) 1/22 on the winning factor out here no matter what position you play. Everyone’s the same.”


Downing’s punt return came just before the end of the first half, and meant the clock would run continuously during the final 24 minutes. On the ground, Downing carried the ball 12 times for 83 yards, and caught two passes for 33 yards.


“If I have a bad day at work, I’m going to have a good day on the field,” Downing said. “I was just enjoying every second of it.”


Brian Buckreus got the defense involved in the scoring with an 11-yard fumble return in the opening stanza.

“I saw the ball on the ground, picked it up and wooo!” Buckreus said. “I heard the boys say, ‘Get up and go! Get up and go!’ I picked the ball up and there I was.”


Place kicker Trevor England added to the scoring in the third when he picked up an offensive fumble to finish off a 33-yard rushing play.