MISSOULA — Missoula Sentinel began its 2021 season the same way it ended 2020: a victory over Billings West. The reigning State AA champion Spartans survived 22-19 over West in a thriller at Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Friday in the season opener for both teams.
An early Sentinel turnover allowed West to started the scoring. Michael Deleon found the end zone from 5 yards out to get the Golden Bears going in the first quarter with a 7-0 lead. Spartan quarterback Zac Crews later connected with Drew Klumph on a touchdown pass to make the score 7-6 West, which would hold until halftime.
In the third quarter, Crews found Klumph again down the sideline for a touchdown. Sentinel added the 2-pt conversion and went up 14-7, a lead which they would take into the fourth. In the final frame, West quarterback Isaiah Claunch threw for two touchdowns, including a screen pass to Taco Dowler, to give West a late 19-14 lead.
But with just over 3 minutes left, Sentinel found its way deep into West territory. Crews scored on a quarterback keeper and added the 2-point conversion with a jump-pass to Joseph Weida to make it 22-19.
With just over 30 seconds left, Claunch's desperation heave was intercepted by Sentinel's JJ Dolan in the end zone to give the Spartans the win.
Class AA scores
(Scroll through the videos above for highlights)
Billings Senior 18, Butte 17 (Thursday)
Billings Skyview 34, Kalispell Flathead 7
Bozeman Gallatin 13, Missoula Big Sky 3
Great Falls CMR 37, Missoula Hellgate 35
Helena Capital 14, Bozeman 12
Helena High 22, Great Falls High 0
Kalispell Glacier 52, Belgrade 0
Missoula Sentinel 22, Billings West 19