Laurel blanks Hardin, prepares for Billings Central

Outlook staff writer
Outlook photo by Chris McConnell. Loco senior BJ Hatcher fights for extra yards during Friday’s final regular season home game against Hardin. Laurel (7-1) held the Bulldogs scoreless in the 34-0 victory. They face Billings Central (7-1) tomorrow night at Rocky Mountain College in a battle for the Eastern A #2 playoff seed.

On the eve of one the biggest games of the year, the Laurel Locomotive football team may be peaking at the right time.
The Loco defense has been coming on strong, allowing only one offensive touchdown in the last three games.
Laurel got off to a quick start on a cool senior night Friday, and the defense held the Hardin Bulldogs scoreless to move to 7-1 after the 34-0 win.
Logan Kennedy returned the opening kickoff to the 45-yard line. On second-and-5, Gage Hull threw a bomb to Deklan Harper for a 50-yard score. The extra point by Luis Vega was good and Laurel took the 7-0 lead with 11:04 left in the first quarter.
On Hardin’s first possession the Loco defense held and forced the Bulldogs to punt from their own 25. Keagan Cambell broke through the line and blocked the punt, recovering it in the end zone for their second score at 8:38 in the first. A Vega kick made it 14-0.
The Locos got one more score before halftime after the defense forced a fumble recovered by Kanyin Moran on the Hardin 17. On second down, Kennedy made a fingertip catch in the end zone on a 17-yard Hull pass. After the extra point Laurel led 21-0.
After a Hardin punt, Laurel moved the ball 44-yards and before turning it over on a fumble on the Bulldog 31.
Laurel scored a third quarter TD on a 19-yard Hull-to-Kennedy pass to take the 28-0 lead. Laurel fumbled on their next possession and the quarter ended with the four touchdown lead.
Laurel’s final score came on their first drive of the fourth quarter on an 11 play, 75-yard drive when Campbell ran it in from the 9 with 6:56 left in the game. The game ended at 34-0.
The Locos had no penalties in the game for the first time this season, which pleased Coach Mike Ludwig, but he wasn’t as thrilled with the two turnovers.
“We can’t get the fumbles figured out,” he said.
Hull had 135 yards on 10-of-19 passing with three TDs and no interceptions.
Kennedy had six catches for 75 yards and two TDs, and Harper had four for 60 and one TD.
Laurel faces longtime rival Billings Central (7-1) tomorrow night in a battle for the #2 playoff seed. If Laurel wins, they draw a bye in the first round and host a second round game. If they lose, they would get the #3 seed and host either Glendive or Lewistown in the first round.
The Rams defeated the Locos 28-10 last year.
Ludwig said Billings Central has improved over the season.
“They’re a mostly young team of sophomores and juniors and have been getting better” this year.
A Central player to watch is senior Ben Voss, who Ludwig calls “one of the best [running backs] in the state.”
Voss is a three year starter who recently rushed for 339 yards in the Sept. 29 game against Belgrade while averaging 17.8 yards per carry. He has 1,165 yards rushing through eight games.
Ludwig said “it’s business as usual this week. We’re adding some new offense and working on improving our blocking.”
Kickoff is a 7 p.m. Friday night at Rocky Mountain College’s Herb Klindt Field.
“We need to have a good week of practice to get ready for a tough Billings Central team,” Ludwig said.


Upcoming Events

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check for more info. Find them on Facebook . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: 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. 
Saturday, July 20, 2019
Third Saturdays, 1 p.m., The Crossings, 600 Roundhouse Dr.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961


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