Bulldogs can’t keep up with Broncs in playoff opener

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The Bulldogs’ good season came to an end on Friday, when they fell to Frenchtown in a Class A playoff matchup.

Whitefish lost 34-7 to the Broncs, who were boosted by quarterback Jace Klucewich’s three touchdowns.

Klucewich scored the lone points of the first quarter, eluding the Dogs’ defense for a 49-yard touchdown run to put the Broncs up 6-0.

He added a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to go up 13-0, but the Bulldogs responded.

Fynn Ridgeway connected with Bodie Smith for a 14-yard passing touchdown to cut the lead to 13-7.

Whitefish’s scoring stopped there, however. That wasn’t the case for the Broncs.

Klucewich scored his third touchdown of the night on an 88-yard run in the third quarter to extend the lead.

Cade Baker added a 4-yard touchdown run later in the quarter to make it 27-7, and Ben Larson added a 15-yard run in the fourth to seal the game for Frenchtown.

Whitefish finishes the season 6-4 overall, but it’s a marked improvement over last year’s 5-5 season.

All four of Whitefish’s losses came to top teams in the state, including Libby, Hamilton, Dillon and Frenchtown — all of which are playoff teams with winning records.

The team graduates key seniors, including Jackson Cripe, Chad Queen, Grant Kahle, Devin Beale, Ian Calaway, Max Grimes, Zach Veneman, Dillon Muth, Logan Drown and Carlitos Bertelsen, but will return some strong younger talent for next season.

One of those younger players is Ridgeway, who threw for the seventh most yards in Class A in the regular season. Ridgeway threw for 1,149 yards total at a nearly 60% completion rate for seven touchdowns and six interceptions. He’s the first Whitefish quarterback to top 1,000 yards in a season since Luke May, who graduated in 2016.

Frenchtown 6 7 14 7 – 34

Whitefish 0 7 0 0 – 7

F – Jace Klucewich 49 run (Conversion no good)

F – Klucewich 1 run (Hank Rugg kick)

W – Bodie Smith 14 pass from Fynn Ridgeway (Jaxzen Schlauch kick)

F – Klucewich 88 run (Rugg kick)

F – Cade Baker 4 run (Rugg kick)

F – Ben Larson 15 run (Rugg kick)

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