Patriots clinch first league title in 10 years
John Rittenhouse photo
Hills-Beaver Creek senior Jeff Sandbulte runs for extra yards after catching a pass in front of Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Dana Madson during the regular season football finale in Hills Oct. 17. H-BC defeated the Chargers 42-0.

The Hills-Beaver Creek football team locked up its first conference championship in 10 years by defeating Westbrook-Walnut Grove 42-0 during the regular season finale Wednesday, Oct 17, in Hills.

H-BC opened a 14-0 lead in the first half and outscored the Chargers 28-0 in the second half to finish the regular season with an 8-0 record.

The win gave H-BC the Southern Confederacy Conference’s Western Division title.

It is H-BC’s first league title since winning the Southwest Ridge Conference championship during the 2002 season.

For a team that was flying under the radar entering the 2012 campaign, finishing a perfect regular season is a satisfying accomplishment for the Patriot players and H-BC coach Rex Metzger.

“I’m pretty happy with it,” Metzger said, when summing up H-BC’s unbeaten regular season.

“This is a big accomplishment for our team. There were a lot of people picking us to be a .500 team at the beginning of the season. We proved a lot of people wrong.”

A commanding performance on both sides of the ball against W-WG highlighted H-BC’s title-clinching win.

H-BC ran the ball for 356 yards and compiled 466 yards offensively. H-BC’s defense limited W-WG to 37 total yards and one first down in the game.

It didn’t take the Patriots long open the scoring against the Chargers.

After forcing W-WG to punt three plays into the contest, the H-BC offense moved the ball 53 yards in four plays with quarterback Dylan Gehrke firing a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Sandbulte at the 9:15 mark of the first quarter.

Dalton Bass, who ran the ball 33 times for 270 yards, carried in the ensuing two-point conversion to make it an 8-0 game.

An interception by Bass set up H-BC’s second touchdown of the game.

H-BC’s offense took over on its own 45 after Bass’ pick and covered 55 yards in 11 plays.

Bass capped the drive with a six-yard run with 6:11 remaining in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead they would take into the second half.

H-BC iced the game by registering touchdowns with its first four offensive possessions of the second half.

The Patriots received the opening kickoff of the third quarter and advanced the ball 78 yards in 11 plays.

Bass ended the drive with a five-yard touchdown run to up H-BC’s to 20-0.

A fumble recovery by Caleb Vis on W-WG’s 35-yard line set up H-BC’s second tally of the half.

Five plays later, Bass scored on a 20-yard run to make it a 26-0 game.

W-WG lost the ball on downs at the H-BC 41-yard line as the third quarter progressed.

The Patriot offense moved the ball 59 yards in six plays with Gehrke delivering a 10-yard touchdown strike to Sandbulte at the end of the possession.

Tate Bork carried in the ensuing two-point conversion to give the Patriots a 34-0 cushion heading into the fourth quarter.

W-WG lost the ball on downs on its own 24-yard line early in the final stanza.

Bork scored on a 14-yard run two plays later and toted in the two-point conversion to complete H-BC’s 42-point victory.

Team statistics

H-BC: 356 rushing yards, 110 passing yards, 446 total yards, 17 first downs, eight penalties for 70 yards, two turnovers.

W-WG: 24 rushing yards, 13 passing yards, 37 total yards, one first down, three penalties for 20 yards, three turnovers.

Individual statistics

Rushing: Bass 33-270, Bork 15-19, Gehrke 4-minus 17, Vis 5-12.

Passing: Gehrke 7-10 for 110 yards.

Receiving: Sandbulte 4-68, Justin Kerkhove-Brandt 2-32, Nathan Taubert 1-10.

Defense: Sandbulte one tackle and one interception, Bass two tackles and one interception, Bork four tackles, Vis five tackles and one fumble recovery, Zach Wagenaar six tackles, Jon Gallagher two tackles, Devin Klarenbeek two tackles, Jacob Conger four tackles and one sack, Jeff Nelson six tackles, Jared Lingen two tackles.

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