BILLINGS WEST  FOOTBALL               

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West scores in final seconds to edge Bozeman
Jones' 2-yard run with 12.2 left gives Bears 17-10 win
Billings West's offense has struggled with consistency all season.

But it was there when the Golden Bears really needed it Friday night. Nathan Jones' two-yard run finished off a punishing nine-minute drive with 12.2 seconds left to give West a 17-10 victory over Bozeman at Wendy's Field at Daylis Stadium.

West is now 5-1 and squarely in the race for a home game in the playoffs, particularly in light of Helena's 27-20 triple overtime upset of top-ranked Helena Capital.

The No. 3-ranked Bears were in plenty of danger, too. The Hawks, who had a 3-0 lead in the second quarter, got even at 10-10 when Andrew Lopez scooped up a fumble by Nathan Ray and ran five yards for a touchdown with 9:13 remaining.
West took over on its own 28 and steadily marched down the field behind Jones. The 180-pound senior carried on 13 of 18 plays.

"We didn't get the pass going and they couldn't stop our run," Jones said. "We don't do anything tricky. We depend on 100 percent (effort). You got to want it."

Jones finished with 97 yards on 22 attempts. He carried eight times to set up West's first touchdown, which came on a 16-yard pass from Gary Fox, Jr. to tight end Shane Robison with 3:30 remaining in the second quarter.

"I enjoyed it," Jones said. "It was definitely a lot of fun to play more than I usually do and make something happen."

On the final drive, Bozeman appeared to have the Bears in trouble after a holding penalty and a fine defensive play by Lopez produced and third-and-14 at the Hawks 42. Fox went back to pass, but was pressured and managed to gain five yards. Bozeman was flagged for a late hit on the play and the Bears had a first down at the 22.

The Hawks didn't yield ground easily. On fourth-and-one at the 13, Fox plowed for a first down. Jones then carried three straight times to the one-yard line as the clock wound down. After being stopped for a one-yard loss, Jones blasted over on the 18th play of the march.

"On the run, we played really great on the line," said guard Nick Bechtold. "We ran the same inside zone and outside zone every time."

Bozeman couldn't generate much of a running game, gaining just 43 yards, and most of quarterback John Stinson's completions went for short gains. He went 18 of 31 for 166 yards and rushed for only 28 yards on 14 attempts.

The Hawks intercepted Fox twice in the first half but only got three points from those two possessions. A holding penalty killed the first opportunity. On the second, Bozeman reached the West 17, but a procedure penalty, a two-yard loss and an incompletion forced the Hawks to go for the field goal. Nate Drain's 32-yarder gave them a 3-0 lead at the 8:40 mark of the second quarter.

Just before the half, Bozeman put together a promising looking series which was ruined by an illegal substitution penalty and Eric Girardot's interception of Stinson at the West 34.

The loss dropped Bozeman to 3-3.

West 17, Bozeman 10

Bozeman 0 3 0 7 - 10

West 0 7 3 7 - 17

Second quarter

Bozeman - Nate Drain FG 32 8:40

West - Shane Robison 16 pass from Gary Fox Jr. (Russell Schey kick) 3:30

Third quarter

West - Schey FG 30 6:34

Fourth quarter

Bozeman - Andrew Lopez 5 fumble return (Drain kick) 9:13

West - Nathan Jones 2 run (Schey kick) 12.2

Bozeman West

First downs 14 17

Rushes-yards 22-43 43-168

Comp-Att-Int 18-31-1 8-15-2

Passing yards 166 72

Total yards 209 240

Punts 4-40 2-35

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1

Penalties-Yards 8-66 6-55

Rushing - Bozeman: John Stinson 14-28, Craig Baldus 7-11, Lopez 1-4. West: Jones 23-98, Nathan Ray 14-61, Fox, Jr. 6-9.

Passing - Bozeman: Stinson 18-31-1-166. West: Fox Jr. 8-15-2-72.

Receiving - Bozeman: Brock Lohman 6-82, Jay Wisner 4-32, Lopez 3-17, Drain 2-20, Baldus 2-9, Ryan Damberger 1-6. West: Deryk Van Zee 3-31, Robison 3-29, Jase Muri 1-7, Ray 1-5.

 

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