Columbia Falls vs. Cowboys
supporter
Posted by Shu (+1794) 11 years ago
Round 1 is done, and so is Havre...let's get to the next opponent!

So, what's the front page on Columbia Falls, Brian? I remember you mentioned recently that this team has what you consider to be the best running back in the state - what do you have on him?

I haven't done a lot of research, but the scores, at least, would suggest that Columbia Falls is lucky to be in the playoffs at all, let alone a divisional champ with a first round bye.

At 4-4, the Wildcats have the worst record of any divisional champion, having beaten Browning, Libby, Polson and Whitefish while they lost to Stevensville, Hamilton, Dillon and Ronan.

The only other thing I'll say about Co. Falls at this time is that it seems The Cowboys got a VERY favorable draw where the playoff bracketing is concerned - they got to host their first round game against a Havre team they'd already played and knew well, and now they go play the seemingly-worst divisional champ in the second round...they still have to endure a very long drive, though, and they still have to play the game.

What say you??? GO COWBOYS!!! Say I.
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Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1905) 11 years ago
It looks good, but I hope none of the Pokes are reading this thread or they'll think they won't even have to show up.

GO COWBOYS!
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
I've got Thompson's game-by-game stats. I'll post them later tonight. I don't know if he's the best back in the state - he's the most productive, though.

But I don't think it's a stretch to say that 1,500 yards in the Northwest is worth only 900 in the Eastern 'A.'
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
For the sake of convenience, I have copied/pasted this from the Cowboys vs. Havre (II) thread:

Columbia Falls - 35-32 (.522), playoff opponents: Stevensville, Dillon, Libby, Polson (2-2). The Wildcats won their division but have the worst overall record (4-4) of any playoff team. Ronan had a better overall record (5-4) but was only 2-2 in conference play. Sidney and Hamilton finished fourth in their divisions with a record equal to Columbia Falls.

Columbia Falls' season-to-date stats follow. I've included Nate Thompson's rushing stats in parentheses after the results of each game.

vs. Stevensville - L, 41-20 (20-270-2)
at Hamilton - L, 17-6 (25-214-1)
vs. Browning - W, 45-12 (18-184-1)
at Dillon - L, 28-0 (37-185-0)
vs. Libby - W, 46-10 (26-238-1)
at Polson - W, 25-20 (37-266-2)
at Whitefish - W, 51-0 (17-102-2)
vs. Ronan - L, 28-20 (29-147-3)

Overall record: 4-4 (3-1 conference)
Points scored: 213 (26.6 ppg)
Points allowed: 156 (19.5 ppg)

Thompson's stats: 209-1606-12 (200.8 ypg)

Putting up 185 yards against Dillon is impressive. But what sticks with me more is the fact that the Beavers still posted a shutout. It suggests a "bend but don't break" philosophy on the part of Dillon. That it took Thompson 37 carries to get his yards (5.0 yards per carry) takes a bit of the luster off the effort.

Columbia Falls also has enough of a passing game to keep teams honest. Austin Barth has completed 48 of his 117 passes for 875 yards (109.4 ypg) and 13 scores. Barth's primary target is Kaleb Johnson, who has 23 receptions for 474 yards and 9 touchdowns.

It should be noted that the bulk of Barth's and Johnson's stats came against woeful Whitefish. Barth completed 9 of 12 passes for 217 yards and six scores against the Bulldogs. Johnson caught 4 passes for 127 yards. Each of his receptions went for a touchdown.

Devyn Rocker is a dangerous kickoff returner, having returned two kicks for touchdowns. He has averaged 40 yards per return (9 returns).

I don't want to predict a shutout, but of all the games Columbia Falls has played this season, I feel the contest that best represents what the Cowboys might expect against the Wildcats is to be found in the Dillon game.

Like the Cowboys, the Beavers (8-0) won eight games in the regular season. Like the Cowboys, the Beavers have been ranked in the top 3 all season long. Like the Cowboys, the Beavers have an outstanding defense, playmakers on offense and a terrific coaching staff.

Dillon traditionally passes more than Miles City, but it should be noted that the Beavers' starting quarterback, J.T. Linder, was knocked out of the game against the Wildcats. As a result, Dillon generated most of their offense on the ground against Columbia Falls. Is there anyone who thinks that the Cowboys aren't capable of putting up more rushing yards than Dillon?

Linder and his replacement, Ben Folsom, combined to pass for for 7-17-141-0-1 against Columbia Falls. Is there anyone who doesn't think - especially after seeing what Cooley and Company have done over the last two weeks against quality opponents - that the Cowboys can't do at least as well through the air? Folsom rushed for 12-77-2 against the Wildcats, but is there anyone who thinks that the Cowboys' quarterback can't be even more productive?

Bottom line:

I'll give Columbia Falls 7 points for being a divisional champion playing at home. I'll give them another 6 for having Thompson.

I'll give Miles City 35 points for being the better team and another 6 for me being a homer.

Cowboys, 41-13 and a fun bus ride home to play Dillon/Belgrade.

Good luck (and safe travel), Cowboys!

P.S.) Regarding what Bob (Deuces) said about the Cowboys becoming overconfident: I agree that this is a troubling possibility, but I also believe that the coaching staff will keep the Cowboys from getting complacent. No one wants to drive that far just to lose. No one wants to ride home knowing they lost to a team they should have whipped.

Miles City has fallen flat once before this season (Billings Central) and I'd expect they know the difference between wouldas, couldas, shouldas, and actually dids. The Cowboys know the Wildcats have nothing to lose by playing their best game of the season. I don't think Miles City will lose perspective, nor do I think they'll allow themselves to lose the game.

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (11/1/2010)]
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 11 years ago
I think the real question coming out of weekend 1 is what the heck happened to Laurel?
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
They were beaten by a better team on that team's home field.
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Posted by Mary McClarty (+81) 11 years ago
what time is the game on Saturday? Big contingency making the trip from Miles?
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Posted by Stone (+1596) 11 years ago
All games are 1:00 on Sat. Unless, mutually agreed to by both teams.
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Posted by Jim B (+232) 11 years ago
Heard the Cowboy's are leaving Thursday afternoon for Columbia Falls.
Is that true?
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Posted by Slosh (+701) 11 years ago
They're taking off Thursday morning and going as far as Butte on Thursday and then the rest of the way Friday.

And yes, it sounds like there is a large group of Miles Citians making the trip. I will be too, and will be updating on my twitter account @MCStarSports throughout the game.

The guy from the Columbia Falls paper called me the other day, and seemed pretty gracious in talking about the Cowboys. He seemed genuinely impressed. But he seemed a little too high on the Columbia Falls team. He did say that he's more of a photographer that got forced into covering sports, rather than a sports guy.

(sorry Brian, I didn't read your whole post, so if I repeat anything, my bad)

From what he was saying, they have a quarterback that is 6'7 and a receiver that is 6'5. He seemed to think that they will be able to throw on us. Which if you look at last weeks numbers for Havre (20 of 25 for 219 yards) that could be true. But Columbia Falls has never seen a pass rush like ours, and even if you're 6'7, it's hard to throw from your back. What Havre did that worked against us, was they went to the shorter passes. Three-step drops and hitting the quick slants and things like that. And they also had a pretty good line. From what I know, CFalls doesn't have the line.

I think the only thing that trips us up this week is the travel. When we went to Polson 2 years ago, it was the closest game we played in the playoffs, and you could tell we were a bit lethargic. But I still think we roll in this one, fairly impressively.
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Posted by Jeff Denton (+763) 11 years ago
That's quite a trip for a football game. But have fun, enjoy Flathead County, and Go Cowboys!
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 11 years ago
This is the problem with such a HUGE state! Maybe everybody could play in Lewistown? Except Lewistown, who would have to drive somewhere.
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Posted by Mary McClarty (+81) 11 years ago
Looking forward to seeing all the Miles Citian's there Saturday!! Go Cowboys!!
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
(sorry Brian, I didn't read your whole post, so if I repeat anything, my bad)

No worries, Slosh. It was a long post. I'd be surprised if everyone read all of it.
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supporter
Posted by Shu (+1794) 11 years ago
BUMP

Win this thing, Cowboys!

Focus on the team you play next instead of the one you would play a week later, and you will win.

Brian and Slosh: good input as always.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
Agreed, Shu (and thanks for the kind words).

Good luck on Saturday, Cowboys! Have a safe trip - listen to a lot of Immigrant Song and Cowboys From Hell on your way and it'll put you in the right frame of mind.
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supporter
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17321) 11 years ago
I'll be rooting for the Cowboys, but it seems they always have a tough time whenever they venture to northwestern Montana. Something about that dank climate affects eastern Montana boys in a negative fashion.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
Sounds like a personal problem, Gunnar.

But your post made me curious - all in all, Miles City is 10-2 against current Northwest teams. The Cowboys are 4-1 on the road, their only loss coming in the 1992 quarterfinals against Whitefish (20-14).

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (11/4/2010)]
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Posted by Slosh (+701) 11 years ago
I'll agree with Gunnar on the 2008 team that had a hard time in Polson. That was easily the most difficult game we played in the postseason.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
Good point, Slosh. After all, the toughest game of the 1994 season was the Cowboys' 18-12 overtime win in the semifinals against Whitefish.
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Posted by Brian Hubbell (+116) 11 years ago
Yeah Brian I was there too and that Whitefish team wasn't good enough to wash our teams jock straps on our field in normal conditions. That field was in awful shape. It made a huge difference in the game for sure.
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supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9194) 11 years ago
Yeah, they did a pretty good trick by warming up on one end of the field, and then switching over to the other end once MC took the field.

I think I've already recounted the greatest Dr. Rauh quote ever the last time this game was discussed, but I'm sure we'd all like to hear it again.
Dr Rauh, after watching an unnamed offensive lineman jump the snap wrote:
Goddammit, if his dad would just let him get laid once in a while, he wouldn't be so wound up
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
Bridgier's quote FTW.
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Posted by Slosh (+701) 11 years ago
thanks Bridgier, now I really miss Doc
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Posted by Stone (+1596) 11 years ago
Good luck Cowboys. I wish I could be there--not, to far.

However, I will be watching the Bobcats.
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Posted by Mathew Schmitz (+284) 11 years ago
I too will be watching the Bobcats, from the 10th row. But hoping for frequent updates via text on the Boys.
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Posted by Mary McClarty (+81) 11 years ago
driving home from work last night and saw the Cowboy's bus - Nice!!! and lots of 14 license plates in town!!
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Posted by mule train (+1055) 11 years ago
well? who won?
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Posted by Betsy (+49) 11 years ago
Miles City 34 to 13 way to go boys
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
Congratulations on the win, Cowboys! I always like it when the four best teams in the state each make the semifinals. There's no doubt that the Cowboys, Billings Central, Dillon and Butte Central are the best teams in Class A this year. The order is yet to be determined.

Here are some tidbits for anyone who may (or may not) be interested:

Shane Cooley rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. This is the 27th time a Cowboy has rushed for over 200 yards in a single game, and the third time in postseason play. The playoff record is 218 yards, set by Brennan Haughian against Butte Central in 2008. Joe Baker rushed for 204 yards against Havre in the 1994 state championship game.

Cooley now has two career 200-yard games, making him just the seventh Cowboy with multiple 200-yard games. He is the only quarterback on the list. Kelly Strobel (1989-90) holds the team record with three such games.

Cooley's 11th career 100-yard game extended his team record for quarterbacks and put him in a tie for fourth place among all Cowboy rushers. The record is 15, set by Haughian from 2006-08.

For the 2010 season, Cooley has rushed 170 times for 1,201 yards and 14 touchdowns. His yardage total ranks 9th among all Cowboy rushers in a single season. His 14 touchdowns puts him in a tie for eighth all-time. Both marks are records for quarterbacks. Haughian owns the single-season rushing record with 1,883 in 2008 and Justin Venn holds the record for rushing touchdowns (22 in 2000).

For his career, Cooley has 2,380 rushing yards (2,176 as a quarterback). His career total ranks third all-time behind Haughian (3,344 from 2006-08) and Baker (2,504 from 1993-95). His total from the QB position ranks first. He now has 29 rushing touchdowns for his career, putting him in a tie for third place with Venn. Baker (35) holds the record, followed by Haughian (33). Cooley's 28 rushing TDs as a QB rank first.

Cooley broke two of the longer-standing records in the Cowboy record book on Saturday, eclipsing Jase Wagner's single-season and career total offense standards. Cooley now has 3,815 combined rushing and passing yards in his career, 2,082 of which have come this season. Wagner held the previous records of 3,805 (1994-96) and 1,932 (1995), respectively.

Cooley also tied the single season mark for total touchdowns, 26, which was set by Matt Gittings in 2002.

Kyle Stanton also made his mark on the Cowboy record book on Saturday. His 111 yards are the most ever by a CCDHS fullback in the postseason. His 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter gave him 12 for his career, putting him in a tie for fourth all-time for career rushing touchdowns among Cowboy fullbacks. He has eight rushing TDs in 2010, a total that ranks fifth among fullbacks in a single season.

Saturday marked just the second time a pair of Cowboys both rushed for over 100 yards in a single postseason game (it's happened 30 times overall). Cooley and Stanton combined for 312 yards, the 11th most by a CCDHS duo.

As a team, Miles City totaled 367 yards on 55 carries. I believe this is the most yards on the ground in a playoff game since 1996, when the Cowboys racked up 407 yards on 58 carries. The only other game that I am unsure of is the 1997 playoff game against Bigfork.

Conversely, Miles City limited Columbia Falls to 40 yards rushing on 32 attempts. The last time the Cowboys held a team to so few yards on the ground in a playoff game was in 2004, when CCDHS held Butte Central to 24 yards on 37 rushes.

Prior to Saturday's game, Columbia Falls' Nate Thompson averaged 200.8 yards per contest (209-1,606-12 rushing in eight games) and had not rushed for fewer than 100 yards in a game this season. The Cowboys minimized his impact on the game, limiting him to 53 yards on 17 carries.

Although the 2010 Cowboys are rightly known for their defense, it should be noted that the offense has now topped at least 300 yards of total yardage in six consecutive games (and have done so in all but one contest this season, the loss to Billings Central). This hasn't happened since the 2005 season, when the Cowboys started the season with six straight such games.

With their 10th victory of the season, the Cowboys have tied Sidney for the most campaigns with double-digit wins since the 1980 season, with six. The Cowboys are 220-77 over the past 31 years, easily the best mark in Class A over that span.

The Cowboys have now advanced to the semifinals 14 times since 1980. Over that time, no other team has reached the penultimate round of the playoffs more than 12 times (Butte Central, includes this season).

I'll post more about Dillon, Miles City's semifinal opponent, later this week. This should be the Cowboys' toughest game so far this season. To be completely honest, Dillon makes me nervous. The Beavers have the best defense the Cowboys will have faced and have a Class AA offense. They've got good size and they're fast.

If Miles City plays with discipline, doesn't give the Beavers free yardage and minimizes mistakes, I like the Cowboys' chances. This is true in any game, but especially in this one. Dillon won't get outcoached or tricked - it'll come down to who runs and hits harder.

Here's hoping the Cowboys have their best week of practice all season. Columbia Falls wasn't in the Cowboys' league. Dillon is.

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (11/8/2010)]
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
Another coupla tidbits: I have only been able to find seven games at the Class A level where a quarterback rushed for 200 or more yards. I am sure there are more. Given the info I have, Cooley is the only player who has done it twice.

Here's the list of known 200-yard rushing games by a Class A QB:

2001 - Jeff Fischer, Laurel - 25-325-5 vs. Billings Central
2005 - Pat Regan, Miles City - 19-219-3 vs. Sidney
2006 - Matt Ritter, Butte Central - 18-208-2 vs. Browning
2008 - Joel Fuller, Libby - 24-210-2 vs. Polson
2009 - Shane Cooley, Miles City - 23-212-2 vs. Hardin
2009 - Andy Ritter, Butte Central - 23-203-3 vs. Columbia Falls
2010 - Shane Cooley, Miles City - 27-201-4 vs. Columbia Falls

And here's the list of Class A QBs with over 1000 yards rushing in a season:

1996 - Jase Wagner, Miles City - 126-1040-14
2001 - Jeff Fischer, Laurel - 212-1296-23
2002 - Jeff Fischer, Laurel - 203-1162-9
2005 - Pat Regan, Miles City - 120-1017-12
2006 - Matt Ritter, Butte Central - 162-1106-11
2007 - Matt Ritter, Butte Central - 164-1043-29
2008 - Bryce Carver, Dillon - 188-1105-25
2009 - Andy Ritter, Butte Central - 190-1138-22
2010 - Shane Cooley, Miles City - 170-1201-14

If anyone is aware of a player who belongs on either of these lists, please feel free to email me to let me know.
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supporter
Posted by Stone (+1596) 11 years ago
Brian, I have a question. Some of Cooley's yards came from the tailback position.

I am not trying to take away from his accomplishments because they are remarkable at any position and even more so at QB. That being said, he has had some carries at the TB position. Not just in this game but earlier in the year. Is this taken into account, when saying he rushed for X amount of yards as a QB? Just wondering and I am not trying to insinuate nothing or bust anyone's balls.

Now, when a defense keys on Cooley as a QB, putting him at TB is a great idea. A few years back they did the same thing with Haughan (SP) when they move him from TB to FB.
Just wondering.
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supporter
Posted by Stone (+1596) 11 years ago
Also, I heard Stanton ran some tailback last week.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
Stone - No, I don't break down the stats based on each snap. Cooley plays 95% of the snaps as a quarterback, therefore he's a quarterback and his records are for that position. Same goes with Stanton, who plays the vast amount of time as a fullback.

In something like this, I don't feel it's necessary to split so fine of hairs. Cooley's a quarterback. I leave it at that.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 11 years ago
Now, if you're talking about Cooley's stats from 2008, those are from the tailback position. That's why I've listed two separate career rushing totals for him. The same goes for Haughian, who was a fullback in 2006 and moved to tailback in 2007.

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (11/8/2010)]
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Posted by Stone (+1596) 11 years ago
OK, that's all I wanted to know. Thanks for taking the time to do high school stats.
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