Rams in nail biting win over Big Fork in play-offs

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, November 7, 2019
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Photo by Colleen Kilbane
Red Lodge's #88 Elijah Reynolds right in the middle of things.

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Photo by Colleen Kilbane
Red Lodge's Austin Heimer tangles with a Big Fork player.

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Photo by Erika Binando
Red Lodge's #22 Finnegan Davis eyeing Big Fork as he pounds down the field, giving a stiff arm and driving to the touchdown.

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Photo by Erika Binando
Red Lodge's Finnegan Davis leading the way through the crowd for #11 Braden Tomlin.

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Photo by Colleen Vormund
A Big Fork player gets caught as Braden Tomlin follows up.

My, how the Red Lodge Rams have matured over the years. They did everything right in this game, maintaining composure when trailing to holding the ball as time slipped away from Big Fork. Of course, the fans were not as composed but then fans aren’t meant to be. 

This game had it all from the slice and dice of the 1st quarter where both teams ripped through each other to put 33 points on the board in 12 minutes flat to the cagey chess match that finished off the encounter. 

It was a game as tight as they come and highlighted those little margins we live by because had it not been for Big Fork faltering on a two-point run and a blocked extra point both teams could have been heading into overtime.

As it was, it was the Rams singing their hearts out at the end, courtesy of a 28-25 victory. 

The 1st quarter flurry of touchdowns obviously worried both coaches as they reshuffled their teams for the 2nd quarter and the rapid-fire scoring abruptly stopped with more defensive-minded tactics taking center stage. Fortunately, this change of mood favored the Rams who managed two more touchdowns to Big Fork’s lone effort. 

Finnegan Davis had opened the scoring for the Rams with just over 2 minutes on the clock and the Red Lodge crowd settled in for a comfortable afternoon. This was soon displaced when Big Fork cut through the Rams season strong defensive line only 78 seconds later. 

Order was restored with Red Lodge coming back 31 seconds later with a brilliant 77 yard run from Davis to make it 14-7 Rams.

Okay, so now the afternoon was looking bright…but only for 64 seconds as back came Big Fork making the Rams fans extremely edgy. No one had come at the team like this since Columbus at the start of the season. And it got worse as Big Fork took the lead, 19-14 with 2 minutes left on the clock. 

The Rams needed a quick response in the 2nd and got it after 140 seconds from Braden Tomlin who ran in from 8 yards to put the Rams back in front 21-19.

And that’s how it stayed, both teams pushing at each other trying to find the weak link, but it was Red Lodge who profited from the search with Austin Heimer touching down from a yard to give the team some breathing space at 28-19. 

Surely, now the game was in the bag and they could just waltz through the 4th but no as within 15 seconds Big Fork had scored and ushered in one of the longest final 12 minutes in the history of high school football. 

In passing Heimer was 4-9, for 46 yards; in rushing, Davis had 18 carries for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns and in receiving Davis had 2 receives for 30 yards. 

In defense, Bannack Kisthard made 10.5 tackles, 8 solo, and 5 assists. 

In team totals, Red Lodge had 56 passing yards to Big Forks 76, 326 rushing yards to 247 and 20 first downs to 14.  Red Lodge had almost 30 minutes of possession play. 

Red Lodge hosts Malta Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. Malta is 8-1. There are three unbeaten teams in their grouping for the quarterfinals, Fairfield, Manhattan, and Eureka.