Locomotives crush the Loggers, move onto semifinals

Thursday, November 14, 2019
Photo courtesy of Gloria Allwin                        Cameron Younger running through a hole against Libby on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Gloria Allwin
          
            Cameron Younger running through a hole against Libby on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Gloria Allwin                        Laurel teammates Jack Waddell (#9) and Jaxon Wittmayer (#2) make a group tackle on a Libby ballcarrier.

Photo courtesy of Gloria Allwin
          
            Laurel teammates Jack Waddell (#9) and Jaxon Wittmayer (#2) make a group tackle on a Libby ballcarrier.

By CONNOR WADDINGHAM

Outlook Sports Writer

The Locos came into the Class A State playoffs as the #2 seed from the East, and received a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Their first playoff game came this past weekend and it was another blowout when the Laurel Locomotives took on the Libby Loggers at the Laurel Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 9. The Locomotives put up 21 points in the first quarter and cruised to a 50-0 victory. They scored 35 points in the first half then took their foot off the gas pedal, only scoring 15 points in the final 24 minutes. It was an easy, first vic- tory in the playoffs for the Locomotives.

Nov. 9 Libby 0, Laurel 50

1 2 3 4 — F LIB 0 0 0 0 — 0 LAU 21 14 7 8 — 50

The Loggers started the game receiving the kick, but turned the ball over just three plays into their opening drive. Senior playmaker Ethan Renner forced the fumble in the backfield and the ball was recovered by Jack Waddell. The Locomotives then took over at the 27– yard line and were in favorable field position. It took the Locos a couple of plays to gain a good chunk of yardage, but eventually Cameron Younger broke free for 13 yards, bringing the ball all the way down to the one-yard line. Ethan Renner punched it in the next play and Laurel quickly led 7-0.

The next Loggers drive resulted in one 30-yard play, but eventually Libby was forced to punt. Laurel called a fair catch on the punt and took over at the Libby 22–yard line. The very first play of this ensuing drive resulted in a 78–yard hookup between quarterback Eli Aby and senior receiver Keagan Campbell. The play was a swing route to Campbell, who proceeded to stiff arm two defend- ers and swivel past a couple more, en route to running the ball 234 feet to the endzone. The point-after try from kicker Tyler Emineth was good and the Locos took a 14-0 lead.

The next Laurel drive lasted just two plays. The first play was a fantastic throw–and–catch from Aby to Waddell. Waddell made a great leaping catch over his defender’s back. He was forced out of bounds at the two–yard line where Ethan Renner then punched in his second of four touchdowns in this game. Another perfect PAT from Emineth made this game 21-0 with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The next drive for each team following this touchdown resulted in a turnover-on-downs. During the Locos second drive of the second quarter, Aby found another one of his reliable receivers, Danner Purkett, on a crossing route that resulted in an 11–yard touchdown. The missed PAT meant Laurel led 27-0.

The Locos had just one more touchdown in the half. After forcing another turnover, the Locos got the ball back and Aby threw for another passing touch- down. This time, it was to Ethan Renner, who did it all in this game. He ran for three touchdowns, caught a 25-yard passing touchdown and forced a fumble on the first drive of the game to set the tone for this game. Renner has been leading this team all season long on both sides of the ball.

The Locos took a 35-0 lead into half time.

The Locos received the kick off to open up the second half of play, and it didn’t take them long to put another touchdown on the board. Five plays into the drive, Renner busted off a 30-yard rush for a touchdown to score his fourth touchdown of the game. The PAT was successful and the Locos extended their lead to 42.

The ensuing Libby drive resulted in a fumble, which was recovered by Eli Aby out of his safety position.

Laurel punted on their next drive, and on the next Libby drive, the Locos forced another turnover. This time it was an interception by the junior Jack Waddell. The first-year Locomotive has been making plays on both sides of the ball all season.

Aby once again connected with a teammate for a passing touchdown, and this time it was fellow junior Jaxon Wittmayer. The two-point conversion run by Keagan Campbell put the Locomotives at 50 points on the game.

The final Libby drive of the game resulted in another interception, this time by Taggert Devaney. Following the interception, the Locomotives just gathered in victory formation and Aby kneeled the ball a couple of times to run the clock out. The Locomotives won their first playoff game of the season in blowout fashion, 50-0.

The Locomotives were a touchdownproducing train on offense this game. Their defense produced three turnovers as well. Quarterback Eli Aby did a very nice job of spreading out his passes. He had eight completions in this game for 195 yards to eight different targets. Keagan Campbell, Ethan Renner, Jaxon Wittmayer and Danner Purkett all caught touchdowns from Aby and Jack Waddell, Emmet Renner, Taggert Devaney and Connor Bergman all caught one pass each, as well. Ethan Renner also rushed 13 times for 80 yards and three touchdowns. Cam Younger ran the ball 8 times for 77 yards; a boastful 9.6 average.

The Locomotives will now be road warriors for the next two rounds of the playoffs. They travel to Dillon, or Bea- verhead County tomorrow to take on the

Beavers. The last time the two teams played was in 2016, when Dillon knocked Laurel out of the playoffs by beating them 22-7. The Beavers come into this game fresh off a 47-7 victory against the Havre Blue Ponies. Dillon, like Laurel, had a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

This game will take place in Dillon, as the Beavers are the #1 seed in the West and the Locos are just a #2 seed. Dillon will have home field advantage on Friday, but the Locos have not lost a road game all season. Good luck to the Locomotives in Beaverhead County this weekend!

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Upcoming Events

Monday, December 9, 2019
• Christmas to Remember meeting, second Monday, 1 p.m., at Reese & Ray’s IGA, call 248-8557 for information
Monday, December 9, 2019
• Council Catholic Women (CCW), second Monday, 6:30 p.m., St. Anthony’s Catholic Church
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Monday, December 16, 2019
Corinthian Lodge No. 72, AF&AM, first & third Monday, 7:30 p.m., Masonic Temple, Laurel Masonic Temple, 9900 Airport Road (except July-August)

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