It’s been eight years since the Libby Loggers made the playoffs, but the 2019 campaign is looking promising for them to return to the postseason.
The Loggers improved to 3-0 in their home-opener Friday night with a 55-6 triumph over the Ronan Chiefs.
“The kids have worked hard in the offseason and it’s good to be 3-0,” Loggers veteran head coach Neil Fuller said. “We took better care of the ball tonight and we just want to keep getting better each week.”
The Loggers were 5-4 in 2018, but lost out on a playoff bid on tiebreakers. So far this year, they are in better shape with those, having already beaten Whitefish, Browning and Ronan, teams in the Class A Western division.
Friday night’s win was led by junior running back Dawson Young. Young had two 100-yard games as the Loggers opened the season with lopsided wins, but Friday night he nearly eclipsed his season total.
Young ran for 223 yards on 18 carries and four touchdowns against the Chiefs after entering the game with 230 yards on 55 runs and four scores.
In addition to his vision and the ability to evade tacklers, Young had outstanding blocking from everyone around him.
“The offensive line played great football, but we also had great blocking from our fullbacks, receivers and tight ends,” Fuller said.
Fuller credited linemen Owen Wilkins, Chris Schedlebauer, Tanner Marshall, Riley Vogel and Cyrus Sweedman for establishing their dominance up front. He also had high words of praise for fullbacks Ryker McElmurray, Luke Foreman and Aydan Williamson, as well as tight ends David Patterson, Cayman Lee and Tucker Masters.
The Loggers also got touchdowns from Williamson, McElmurray, Patterson and Hunter Hoover.
Libby opened in the spread offense because Fuller said it’s something they’ll need to do as the season progresses. The results were mixed as junior quarterback Jay Beagle hit a couple of passes for 33 yards before being intercepted near the goal line on the first drive. Senior Jeff Offenbecher caught both for good gains and he then took over signal-calling duties and hit 1 of 2 passes for 27 yards.
But when it appeared the run game was going to be so effective, the Loggers went to the run and stuck with it. They totaled 443 yards rushing while limiting the Chiefs (0-3) to 156 total yards.
Defensively, Chandler Bower and Tucker Lytton each had interceptions for the Loggers.
The Chief’s lone standout plays were a 62-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Kelsch to Matthew Victor and an interception by Trapper McAllister.
The Loggers (3-0) host Columbia Falls Friday in another key division contest. The Wildcats are 1-2 after a 17-14 loss to Whitefish.
The Chiefs (0-3) host Polson. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.
Ronan 0 0 6 0 — 6
Libby 14 27 14 0 — 55
L — Dawson Young 1 run (Chandler Bower kick)
L — Aydan Williamson 20 run (Bower kick)
L — Young 15 run (Bower kick)
L — Young 43 run (kick fail)
L — Young 9 run (Bower kick)
L — Ryker McElmurray 1 run (Bower kick)
L — David Patterson 4 run (Bower kick)
R — Matthew Victor 62 pass from Daniel Kelsch (pass fail)
L — Hunter Hoover 3 run (Bower kick)
First downs 4 23
Rushing 14-24 47-443
Passing 6-19-2-132 4-8-1-71
Total offense 156 514
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties 5-22 1-5
Punts 4-37.5 0-0