#20 Rocky beats Montana Western 41-26 in Dillon | Frontier Conference

DILLON, Montana, Oct. 1, 2022 — The Battlin’ Bears defeated Montana Western with a 41-26 all-team effort.

Rocky’s offense scored first on an impressive 39-yard touchdown catch by George Tribble’s DeNiro Killian Jr. to give Rocky a 7-0 lead. Rocky’s defense started the game dominating, allowing just one first down and 25 total yards in the first quarter. Western would find the end zone with just 10 seconds left in the first half, but a blocked extra point would keep Rocky in the lead going into the half 7-6.

Western’s Reese Neville would interrupt a 75-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter, giving Western its first and only lead of the game.

The Battlin’ Bears recovered the ball and opened the passing game. George Tribble found DeNiro Killian Jr. for a 26-yard gain, then Trae Henry made an overhead catch for a 31-yard touchdown to give Rocky the 14-13 advantage.

On Western’s next possession, Rocky’s defensive line made its presence felt, hitting Western’s Jon Jund as he threw, leading to an interception by Kaysan Barnett.

Freshman Matt White would find the advantage and rush for a season-long 28-yard run for him. George Tribble found Ben Rooney on the next play for 23 yards as Rooney made a tough hold on a West defender to place Rocky inside the 10-yard line.

Rocky’s offense had a trick up its sleeve to hit him in the end zone, as George Tribble waved out of formation, letting Andrew Simon take the direct snap and toss the ball into the end zone to extend Rocky’s lead at 21-13.

Rocky’s defense would cause another turnaround, this time Brail Lipford, celebrating his birthday, grabbed an interception that bounced off the hands of a Western receiver and went 34 yards for a Rocky touchdown, making it 28 -13.

Western’s offense would set up a long drive capitalized by a two-yard touchdown from Jon Jund, making it 28-20 early in the fourth quarter.

After a Tribble interception, Western would find the end zone on a two-yard touchdown from Colten McPhee. A missed extra run attempt would keep the Rocky in the lead at 28-26.

Rocky’s offense wouldn’t even get on the field after Western scored, as Jack Waddell breaks free at kickoff for an 88-yard return touchdown, giving Rocky a 35-26 lead. The Battlin’ Bears defense forced a three-and-out on the next drive, leading Zaire Wilcox to open the game with a 50-yard rushing touchdown to give Rocky a 41-26 lead after the failed two-point conversion attempt, which would be the final score.

“Great team win,” said coach Chris Stutzriem. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was a great team win. The defense did a great job of cornering but not breaking and putting pressure on the QB. The offense did a good job hitting big plays and controlling the clock to put the game away. The special teams were special today. Great job scoring points and getting great positions on the pitch. I’m really proud of this team and these coaches.

George Tribble threw 21-29 for 277 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Zaire Wilcox rushed for 98 yards on 21 attempts and a touchdown. DeNiro Killian Jr. led the Rocky receivers with seven receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. Wyatt Brusven was Rocky’s leading tackler with 10 total tackles with 1.5 tackles for the loss, while Nolan McCafferty had nine tackles with a sack. Western’s Jon Jund threw 21-35 for 159 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Jund also rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts. Reece Neville rushed for 86 total yards on six attempts, while Blake Sentman led the Bulldog receivers with seven receptions for 66 yards. Western’s defense was led by Jaden Amasiu’s 12 tackles.

The Battlin’ Bears (4-1) will return home to host Oregon East on Saturday, October 8 at 1:00 p.m.

Article by Brandon Stinson, Rocky Mountain College Sports Information

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