Bulldogs 4-game streak upended by Hamilton

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Reporter | October 14, 2020 1:00 AM

Whitefish had a tough draw traveling to the undefeated Hamilton Broncs’ stadium Friday evening.

The Bulldogs had won four in a row after starting the season 0-2, and knew the state-title-contending Broncs would be their toughest matchup of the season thus far. Whitefish got out to a slow start in the game and gave up numerous high-yardage plays to its opponent, making a comeback nearly impossible as they lost to Hamilton 54-23.

“Defensively we just didn’t play very well,” football head coach Chad Ross said. “As coaches we’ve got to do a better job of getting our kids in position to play. We kind of planned for one thing, and came out and did something else.”

Hamilton quickly jumped on the scoreboard when Broncs receiver Eli Taylor caught the ball in the end zone, the score came only a couple minutes into the game. Hamilton piled on two more touchdowns to go up 19-0 before the end of the first quarter, only one extra point was good.

“You know, big plays,” Ross said about his team’s defensive breakdown in the opening quarter. “We ran a couple fakes that weren’t executed like we needed them to be, we gave them a couple short fields.”

Whitefish came out in the second quarter more poised and Bodie Smith’s 57-yard kickoff return pumped up his team. With great field positioning, Whitefish struck when Fynn Ridgeway found Jaxsen Schlauch for a 28-yard-touchdown pass reception.

On its next time out, Whitefish turned the ball over. Hamilton managed to march its way back down into the red zone, but Schlauch intercepted the ball on the 1-yard line. Schlauch has had five interceptions this season.

Whitefish managed to score a field goal to cut the deficit to 19-10, but allowed Hamilton to squeeze in two additional scores before halftime.

“We came back, I mean it was 10-19 with three and a half minutes to go in the first half,” Ross said. “Then we gave up two touchdowns in less than four minutes on big plays, just a breakdown and a turnover.”

After the half, the Broncs kept piling on touchdowns. Ridgeway did find Schlauch in the end zone again early in the fourth quarter. And Ty Schwaiger ran the ball in for a score late in the game to cap the scoring for both teams.

Hamilton’s quarterback Tyson Rostad threw for a massive 365 yards with four touchdowns — proving to be too much for the Bulldogs’ defense.

“Their quarterback Tyson Rostad came out and just played a great game,” Ross said. “We thought we could limit him to a couple of things and he had one incomplete pass the entire game; it’s just tough to do.”

Whitefish’s Ridgeway had a nice night as well throwing for 237 yards. Schlauch brought down 10 receptions for 103 yards and Smith had 105 receiving yards in the game.

“I thought offensively we did some really great things, Fynn keeps getting better every single week. Jaxsen Schlauch looked really good offensively, even the line did a good job,” Ross expressed.

The Bulldogs fell to 4-3, and the loss to Hamilton hurts their chances for a playoff berth; but it is still possible.

“We’ve got an outside chance of making the playoffs if we beat Dillon and some other things happen — we still have a chance, we still have something to play for…” Ross commented, also mentioning that the Bulldogs are undefeated at home this year with one game remaining. “A lot of those seniors it will be the last time they play on this field, so a lot of emotion and a lot things still to play for even though we didn’t play very well against Hamilton.”

Stevensville was next up for Whitefish, however the Yellowjackets had to forfeit the game due to reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic. According to Ross, Whitefish’s athletic director Aric Harris is working to try to schedule a replacement game, but for now the Bulldogs will prepare for their last game of the regular season versus Dillon at the Dawg Pound on Friday, Oct. 23.