Cowboys vs. Billings Central, playoff edition
Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 5 years ago
I'll be honest: I think the Cowboys have better than a puncher's chance in this game. They fought Central hard last time out and they had several key players out, especially on defense. I don't believe that Central got an accurate representation of what to expect when these teams play on Friday, and I hope that works as much to the Cowboys' advantage as the Rams' trademark arrogance has over the years.

I do know that the Cowboys will need to play their best game of the season to win and advance to face Polson, but I think they have it in them.

I've been looking forward to going to this game, as it's going to be played here in Billings, but I found out earlier this week that I will be unable to attend in person.

I'll be in Chicago, escorting my father and my two oldest sons to Dad's bucket list dream game (Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday). I hope to be able to follow the game on Friday on the radio, though.

I am planning on providing more of a team-by-team playoff preview for the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. I had planned on putting something together for this week, but I ran out of time.

Here are your Class A leaders for passing, rushing, and receiving through the regular season:

Passing (ranked by yards per game):

Dakota Bridwell, Columbia Falls - 161-261-2617-32-5 (327.1 ypg)
Gabe Gundlach, Miles City - 142-226-1883-18-17 (209.2 ypg)
Tanner Wilson, Polson - 89-157-1480-18-4 (185.0 ypg)
Carson Rostad, Hamilton - 81-127-1373-17-6 (171.6 ypg)
Tanner Kump, Butte Central - 75-154-1160-7-6 (165.7 ypg)
Liam LeCoure, Stevensville - 101-234-1374-11-15 (152.7 ypg) - FINAL
Mitchell Norslien, Lewistown - 77-128-1172-14-6 (146.5 ypg)
Ty Hoppie, Frenchtown - 68-132-876-5-5 (146.0 ypg) - FINAL
Trey Murphy, Havre - 85-155-1160-10-6 (145.0 ypg) - FINAL
Troy Andersen, Dillon - 98-172-1142-10-6 (142.8 ypg)

Passing (ranked by NFL passer rating formula):

Dakota Bridwell, Columbia Falls - 161-261-2617-32-5 (126.9)
Zack Spady, Belgrade - 36-64-770-17-2 (125.7)
Carson Rostad, Hamilton - 81-127-1373-17-6 (120.2)
Tanner Wilson, Polson - 89-157-1480-18-4 (116.2)
Mitchell Norslien, Lewistown - 77-128-1172-14-6 (107.3)
Jet Campbell, Billings Central - 51-110-876-12-2 (102.7)
Gabe Gundlach, Miles City - 142-226-1883-18-17 (84.4)
Trey Murphy, Havre - 85-155-1160-10-6 (84.3)
Troy Andersen, Dillon - 97-172-1142-10-6 (82.1)
Tanner Kump, Butte Central - 96-188-1399-10-8 (75.6)

Notes: Bauder started the first three games of the season at quarterback, but has since moved back to receiver. Rostad, a freshman, is now the full-time QB for the Broncs. Bauder's passing stats are based on the three games in which he played that position. Rostad's passing stats are based on the eight games in which he attempted a pass.

Rostad is off to a terrific start to his career. Not only has he guided the Broncs to a playoff berth and a 5-1 record in his six starts, he has had one of the best freshman campaigns of any Class A quarterback in at least the last 25 years. Rostad leads all Class A players in completion percentage (63.8%), having completed 81 of his 127 attempts for 1,373 yards and 17 touchdowns against only six interceptions. He's tied for the fourth-most TD passes this season and ranks fourth in yards per game. As a starter, he has averaged just under 225 yards per contest.

Here are the freshman-season stats for Havre's Dane Warp, Whitefish's Luke May, and Polson's Craig Bagnell for comparison purposes:

Bagnell (2005): 81-148-1096-13-8 (54.7 comp. percentage, 85.3 passer rating)
May (2012): 143-234-2020-19-9 (61.1 comp. percentage, 100.0 passer rating)
Warp (2012): 167-260-2837-30-13 (64.2 comp. percentage, 118.7 passer rating)

Rostad's emergence under center has allowed all-state standout Bridger Bauder to move back to the position that he's most associated with: wide receiver. More on Bauder below.

Through 8 games, Columbia Falls' Dakota Bridwell has made major inroads on the Class A record book. His average passing game (327 yards) will put him at 2,944 yards for the season, three more than Dane Warp's Class A record of 2,941 through 10 games for Havre in 2013. Bridwell's 32 touchdown passes have him at fourth place all-time, just four behind the 36 thrown by Havre's Gary Wagner in 2004 and matched by Dillon's J.D. Ferris in 2014.

For his career, Bridwell has completed 468 of 763 passes for 6,698 yards, 76 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. His touchdown total ranks third and his yardage, attempts, and completions each rank fourth. He has eight career 300-yard games, which ranks behind only the 12 of Dane Warp.

Rushing (ranked by yards per game):

Hayden Van Winkle, Belgrade - 90-1100-15 (137.5 ypg)
Manny Rivera, Hamilton - 184-1106-11 (122.9 ypg)
Colton Cote, Polson - 142-864-6 (108.0 ypg)
Isaac Fry, Lewistown - 117-827-3 (103.4 ypg)
Tanner Wilson, Polson - 120-791-14 (98.9 ypg)
Jase Stokes, Havre - 147-861-13 (95.7 ypg)
Blake Burton, Butte Central - 81-809-6 (89.9 ypg)
Ben Voss, Billings Central - 96-700-8 (87.5 ypg)
Alec Lovegren, Sidney - 115-730-12 (81.1 ypg)
Jacob Morris, Miles City - 144-672-7 (74.7 ypg)

Notes: Belgrade's Hayden Van Winkle (1,100) and Hamilton's Manny Rivera (1,106) have rushed for nearly the exact same yardage total this year, but a closer analysis shows how special of a season Van Winkle has had. Van Winkle has less than half the total number of carries (90 to 184) that Rivera has, meaning that his yards per carry (12.22) is twice that of Rivera's (6.01).

Should Van Winkle maintain his present yardage per carry, he will finish with the second-best average rush since such records have been kept at the Class A level, behind only Laurel's Shad Waddell in 1999 (81-1038-8, 12.81 ypc). Including Van Winkle, only five players have rushed for more than 10 yards per carry on more than 100 carries in a given season (Frenchtown's Jonny Dilworth (121-1333-14, 11.02 in 2009), Frenchtown's Cody Kirk (179-1902-17, 10.63 in 2008), Stevensville's Travis Browne (175-1822-20, 10.41 in 2004), and Hardin's Jeff Brokaw's (134-1367-13, 10.20 in 2004)).

Butte Central's Blake Burton is also flirting with a 10-yards per carry average this season (81-809-6).

Even more impressively, Polson's Colton Cote (142-864-6) and Tanner Wilson (120-791-14) are on pace to become the seventh set of 1000-yard teammates since 1990 and the first since Livingston's Shanon Williams (182-1278-14) and Brandon Toney (153-1273-12) in 2012.

Should Wilson top 1000 yards rushing, he would become the first Class A quarterback with over 1000 yards each rushing and passing since Belgrade's Brayden Konkol in 2013. Wilson would be the seventh quarterback since 1990 to accomplish the feat (Butte Central's Matt Ritter did it twice (2006-07) and Laurel's Jeff Fischer (2001), Dillon's Bryce Carver (2008), Butte Central's Andy Ritter (2009), Miles City's Shane Cooley (2010), and Konkol are the others).

Carver is the only Class A player with 2000 yards passing and 1000 yards rushing in the same season.

Receiving (ranked by yards per game):

Matthew Rensvold, Polson - 54-964-12 (120.5 ypg)
Tyler Burk, Miles City - 57-949-13 (105.4 ypg)
Braxton Reiten, Columbia Falls - 47-835-12 (104.4 ypg)
Alex Gavlak, Stevensville - 30-639-6 (79.9 ypg) - FINAL
Ty Chouinard, Hamilton - 38-621-8 (69.0 ypg)
Trevor Hoerner, Columbia Falls - 35-551-6 (68.9 ypg)
Sam Johnston, Butte Central - 42-600-5 (66.7 ypg)
Bridger Bauder, Hamilton - 26-381-2 (63.5 ypg)
Jacob Price, Frenchtown - 49-488-3 (54.2 ypg) - FINAL
Trey Mounts, Belgrade - 21-470-8 (58.8 ypg)

Notes: Bauder started the first three games of the season at quarterback, but has since moved back to receiver. His receiving stats are based on the five games in which he has lined up at receiver.

Speaking of Bauder, one can't help think that his totals this season are a bit pedestrian in comparison to the numbers he posted in his freshman and sophomore seasons, but the fact remains that he has put himself in a strong position to finish his career as Class A's leading receiver in nearly every category.

Here's a snapshot of his career and where he ranks among the all-time leaders at the Class A level:

2014 - 44-893-11
2015 - 53-867-9
2016 - 26-381-2
Career - 123-2141-22

Still only a junior, Bauder is one of only five players (Billings Central's Doug Reid (1994-95), Butte Central's Kale Guldseth (2012-13), Columbia Falls (2013-14), Miles City's Tyler Burk (2015-16) are the others) who have two career 800-yard receiving seasons. Barring a deep and historically-productive playoff run, Bauder won't make it three in a row this year, but with Rostad at QB next year, the sky is the limit for Bauder in 2017.

With the balance of the 2016 season yet to be played and all of 2017 ahead of him, Bauder already ranks sixth in career receptions (Burk is presently fifth), fourth in career yards (Burk is presently fifth), and eighth in career touchdowns (Burk is presently tied for fifth). Pending on where Burk ends up on the all-time lists, Bauder could rank as high as first in all of those categories by the end of the 2016 season. See below for Bauder's and Burk's career stats and rankings.

This season may see an unprecedented three players finish with over 1000 yards receiving. Polson's Matthew Rensvold, Miles City's Tyler Burk, and Columbia Falls' Braxton Reiten are all averaging over 100 yards receiving per game and are on pace to finish 2016 with over 1000 yards apiece. There have been a pair of 1000-yard receivers only three times previously: 2004 (Havre's Mark Mariani (1,237) and Coda Tchida (1,010)), 2013 (Hamilton's Teague Blome (1,088) and Columbia Falls' Ty Morgan (1,073)), and 2014 (Morgan (1,201) and Whitefish's Jed Nagler (1,015)).

Miles City Leaders

Passing: Gabe Gundlach - 142-226-1883-18-17 (leads Class A in interceptions, ranks second in yards, touchdowns, and completions, third in attempts). He has the second-most passing yards in a single season in CCDHS history (Matthew Blunt had 2,286 in 2015) and the fourth-most touchdowns. His attempts, completions, and interceptions are all new Cowboys records).

Rushing: Jacob Morris - 144-672-7 (ranks 10th in Class A in rushing yards, ranks third in attempts), Jacob Swope 40-158-0, Tyler Burk 23-85-0. TEAM: 263-960-10 (106.7 ypg).

Receiving: Tyler Burk - 57-949-13 (leads Class A in receptions and touchdowns, ranks second in yards), Jacob Swope - 31-388-3, Mason Dinardi 21-352-1, Caleb Petross 17-146-1, Zach Dinardi 9-121-0.

Notes: Gundlach has established new CCDHS records for single-game passing yards (373), completions (26), attempts (42), and passing touchdowns (6).

Here are the all-time Class A receiving leaders:

Ranked by yardage:

1.) Ty Morgan, Columbia Falls (2012-14): 130-2304-26
2.) Logan Harwood, Whitefish (2010-12): 121-2225-23
3.) Parker Filius, Havre (2012-15): 154-2150-15
4.) Bridger Bauder, Hamilton (2014-Current): 123-2141-22
5.) Tyler Burk, Miles City (2014-Current): 126-2097-23
6.) Jed Nagler, Whitefish (2013-15): 105-2027-20
7.) Alec Haughian, Miles City (2011-14): 120-1954-23
8.) Doug Reid, Billings Central (1993-95): 129-1929-21
9.) Kale Guldseth, Butte Central (2010-13): 148-1918-18
10.) Kevin Criswell, Colstrip (1998-2000): 111-1903-18

Ranked by receptions:

1.) Parker Filius, Havre (2012-15): 154-2150-15
2.) Kale Guldseth, Butte Central (2010-13): 148-1918-18
3.) Ty Morgan, Columbia Falls (2012-14): 130-2304-26
4.) Doug Reid, Billings Central (1993-95): 129-1929-21
5.) Tyler Burk, Miles City (2014-Current): 126-2097-23
6.) Bridger Bauder, Hamilton (2014-Current): 123-2141-22
7.) Logan Harwood, Whitefish (2010-12): 121-2225-23
8.) Alec Haughian, Miles City (2011-14): 120-1954-23
9.) Phil Antonioli, Butte Central (2007-10): 119-1792-15
10.) Kevin Staley, Dillon (2001-03): 118-1632-12

Ranked by touchdown catches:

1.) Ty Morgan, Columbia Falls (2012-14): 130-2304-26
2.) Kaleb Johnson, Columbia Falls (2008-10): 72-1424-25
3t.) Clay Schreder, Sidney (1989-91): 101-1897-24
3t.) Steven Pfahler, Frenchtown (2003-05): 82-1459-24
5t.) Logan Harwood, Whitefish (2010-12): 121-2225-23
5t.) Alec Haughian, Miles City (2011-14): 120-1954-23
5t.) Tyler Burk, Miles City (2014-Current): 126-2097-23
8t.) Marc Mariani, Havre (2002-04): 69-1638-22
8t.) Bridger Bauder, Hamilton (2014-Current): 118-2061-22
10t.) Doug Reid, Billings Central (1993-95): 129-1929-21
10t.) Nate Simkins, Dillon (2013-15): 112-1596-21

Notes: Should the Cowboys qualify for the playoffs, Tyler Burk will have a very good chance at putting himself atop numerous all-time lists. Here is what he will need to establish new Class A records:


Receptions (57): Needs 15 to tie Havre's Daine Solomon, who had 72 catches in 2003.
Yards (949): Needs 51 yards to become 10th Class A player with 1,000 yards in a single season, and 316 to tie Havre's Marc Mariani, who had 1,237 yards in 2004.
Touchdowns (13): Needs 3 to tie Havre's Marc Mariani and Coda Tchida (16 each in 2004) and Columbia Falls' Ty Morgan (2013).


Receptions (126): Needs 28 to tie Havre's Parker Filius, who had 154 catches from 2013-15.
Yards (2097): Needs 207 to tie Columbia Falls' Ty Morgan, who had 2304 yards from 2012-14.
Touchdowns (23): Needs 3 to tie Columbia Falls' Ty Morgan, who had 26 touchdowns from 2012-14.

Here are the top 10 single-game passing performances in 2016:

1.) Dakota Bridwell, Columbia Falls vs. Polson - 37-63-464-2-2
2.) Carson Rostad, Hamilton vs. Corvallis - 23-30-374-4-0
3.) Dakota Bridwell, Columbia Falls vs. Stevensville - 18-29-373-7-0
4.) Gabe Gundlach, Miles City vs. Lewistown - 22-36-373-3-2
5.) Dakota Bridwell, Columbia Falls vs. Whitefish - 20-40-351-3-0
6.) Dakota Bridwell, Columbia Falls vs. Corvallis - 20-29-312-6-0
7.) Trey Murphy, Havre vs. Belgrade - 23-35-308-1-0
8.) Gabe Gundlach, Miles City vs. Belgrade - 14-21-299-6-3
9.) Tanner Wilson, Polson vs. Columbia Falls - 14-26-293-3-1
10.) Dakota Bridwell, Columbia Falls vs. Hamilton - 18-33-290-3-1

Here are the top 10 single-game rushing performances of 2016:

1.) Jase Stokes, Havre vs. Whitefish - 31-281-3
2.) Hayden Van Winkle, Belgrade vs. Laurel - 12-275-3
3.) Jordan Thomas, Stevensville - 23-225-2
4.) Hayden Van Winkle, Belgrade vs. Livingston - 12-225-3
5.) Isaac Fry, Lewistown vs. Sidney - 29-218-1
6.) Manny Rivera, Hamilton vs. Whitefish - 40-202-1
7.) Tanner Wilson, Polson vs. Butte Central - 21-201-3
8.) Manny Rivera, Hamilton vs. Dillon - 19-194-1
9.) Blake Burton, Butte Central vs. Corvallis - 14-191-3
10.) Blake Burton, Butte Central vs. Hamilton - 16-190-1

Here are the top 10 single-game receiving performances of 2016:

1.) Tyler Burk, Miles City vs. Belgrade - 9-257-5
2.) Matthew Rensvold, Polson vs. Columbia Falls - 12-248-2
3.) Matthew Rensvold, Polson vs. Havre - 11-183-3
4.) Matthew Rensvold, Polson vs. Frenchtown - 9-179-1
5.) Tyler Burk, Miles City vs. Powell - 8-177-3
6.) Braxton Reiten, Columbia Falls vs. Browning - 6-144-3
7.) Nate McGree, Butte Central vs. Stevensville - 5-142-2
8.) Bridger Bauder, Hamilton vs. Corvallis - 11-136-1
9.) Mason Dinardi, Miles City vs. Lewistown - 9-134-0
10.) Sean Miller, Columbia Falls vs. Polson - 6-134-1