Laurel’s successful season ends

By: 
CHRIS MCCONNELL
Outlook staff writer
Noah Gunther tries to get outside on a rush while Cash Golden blocks during Saturday’s playoff game. The Locos (7-3) fell to Dawson County (5-5), 28-20 at Laurel Sports Complex.

The Locomotive football season ended at home on Friday after suffering a 28-20 loss to Dawson County.
Coach Mike Ludwig called it “a tough loss,” and gave Glendive credit for playing “hard with a lot of fire and intensity.”
Laurel looked strong on its opening drive, moving the ball 60 yards for the score on an 8-yard Gage Hull run with 8:07 in the first. Luis Vega connected on the extra point giving them the 7-0 lead.
After a touchback, Glendive moved the ball 70 yards on nine consecutive rushes before the defense stepped up and stuffed a fourth-and-1 rushing attempt from their own 9 with 3:49 left in the first.
On the subsequent drive, the Locos weren’t able to advance the ball past the 25, resulting in a punt.
The second quarter began with a Red Devil first-and-10 from the Laurel 37. After a defensive penalty and four short rushing gains, they ran it in from the 14 to tie the game 7-7.
On Laurel’s next possession Noah Gunther was picked off and three minutes later Glendive punched it in from the 2 to take the 14-7 lead with 5:49 in the half.
After Ethan Renner had a 39-yard kickoff return, Hull completed a 52-yard bomb to a wide open Deklan Harper for the score. A missed extra point later and the Red Devils still had the lead, 14-13.
Dawson County started on its own 15 and continued to push the ball up field with a strong running game. With 36 seconds left, a 20-yard pass completion resulted in another score giving them the 21-13 halftime lead.
Ludwig admitted the Locos had a poor second quarter. He said they competed well in the second half, but “we just couldn’t finish drives.”
After receiving the second half kickoff, Glendive moved the ball 80 yards during a seven-minute drive capped by a 7-yard TD run and a 28-13 lead.
Laurel’s next drive ended on an incomplete pass on fourth-and-6 from the Dawson County 13.
The fourth quarter began with a Red Devil punt.
The Locos started on their own 45 and picked up a couple first downs, before stalling and facing fourth-and-14. Hull connected with Gunther for 14 yards down to the Dawson County 4-yard line to pick up the first down, but Laurel was unable to score and turned the ball over on downs.
A late TD pass from Hull to Gunther pulled the Locos within eight points, but after the onside kick failed, the game ended at 28-20.
Hull was 18-32 for 210 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Harper had six receptions for 105 yards and a TD.
Laurel finished the season with a solid 7-3 record and achieved their pre-season goal of making the playoffs. The young team also improved on last years 6-4 record.
Ludwig said while the loss was disappointing, the team “had a great year and really overachieved. Winning seven games and qualifying for the playoffs is a great accomplishment and they should be proud of themselves.”
He added, “I want to thank our seniors for their hard work [and] commitment and dedication they put into our football program. We will miss them and I wish them all the best in the future.”

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