Hull, Harper and Kennedy too much for Lewistown defense

By: 
CHRIS MCCONNELL
Outlook staff writer
Photo by Doreen Heintz.  Gage Hull tosses a touchdown pass during the season opener on Friday in Lewistown, while Kanyin Moran blocks a defender. The Locomotives defeated the Golden Eagles 33-22.

The Locomotives took an early lead then held on to clip the Golden Eagles 33-22 in Lewistown on Friday.
Head Coach Mike Ludwig said the Loco football team is off to a good start but they still have a lot of work to do before tomorrow’s home game against Custer County (Miles City).
“I’m proud of our kids; they played well in the first half. The defense, special teams, and run and pass blocking were good,” Ludwig said, referring to their 33-8 halftime lead.
Laurel got off to a quick start when quarterback Gage Hull connected on 40-yard and 16-yard touchdown passes to Deklan Harper and Logan Kennedy in the first quarter to take a 14-0 lead, after Kennedy hit both extra points.
With 12 minutes left in the second quarter, Cameron Younger scored on an 11-yard run to take a commanding 20-0 lead before Fergus scored on a 45 yard QB run and converted the 2-point try to make it 20-8.
Mere seconds later Harper caught the kickoff at the 20-yard-line and blitzed the Golden Eagle special teams for an 80-yard return and score.
As the second quarter was winding down Hull connected with Harper on a 35 yard TD pass. After the p.a.t. was blocked the Locos took a 33-8 lead into the half.
Ludwig said the second half exposed a few weaknesses they are addressing in practice this week.
“We need to improve our conditioning and go harder in practice. We only have 26 kids and most don’t leave the field,” he said.
Fergus scored twice in the second half, and Laurel’s offense stalled, but the Locos still hung on for the 33-22 win over their conference foe, who they also beat in the first round of the playoffs last year.
Hull threw for 155 yards and three touchdowns on 10/14 passing with no interceptions.
Harper had nearly 200 all-purpose yards including 110 on six catches and the kickoff return for 80. He had three scores on the day.
“Harper played well and we need him to continue to play well,” Ludwig said.
Logan Kennedy had three receptions for 44 yards and one TD, and connected on three extra points.
Ethan Renner had 15 carries for 93 yards and Cameron Younger had eight for 40, with one rushing score.
On the defensive end the Locos had three picks, with Gaje Leischner grabbing two and Renner one.
Tomorrow night they face the Custer County Cowboys (Miles City) in their home opener and Ludwig expects a different type of game than last week.
“Miles City are tough kids who play hard. We are expecting a more physical game than last week. They have 17 seniors, an experienced quarterback and one of the fastest runners in the state.”
Custer County wide receiver Keith Vanderlaan, who won Eastern A track divisionals in the 100m and 200m last year as a sophomore, had a 66 yard TD run last week.
“He’s scary,” Ludwig said.
Ludwig said they are working on conditioning and preparing for the experienced team who lost to a tough Billings Central team 21-14.
“We need to practice well this week,” Ludwig said.
Kickoff at Laurel Sports Complex is at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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