SIMMS — The Simms Tigers jumped out to a commanding lead in the first half and held on after Chinook rallied to win 34-24 and remain undefeated.
With the win, Simms clinched the top seed in the 8-Man North A subdivision and will play Fort Benton for a divisional title in two weeks.
Simms opened the scoring in thrilling fashion when Mikey Leach found a seam on the right side, high stepped near the sideline to stay in bounds and ran 73 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 6-0.
Midway through the second quarter, Jacob Remsh blocked a Chinook punt and Leach recovered it in the end zone for a defensive touchdown. Simms led 14-0 after the two-point conversion.
Carter McDowell grabbed an interception with time winding down in the first half and Hudson Rohrer scored on a three yard keeper with 32 second left in the second quarter to put Simms up 20-0 at the break.
The Tigers defense also had a pair of goal line stands in the first half to keep Chinook scoreless.
The Sugarbeeters wasted no time turning things around in the third quarter. Levi Jensen found Drake Berreth for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 20-6. Just two minutes later, Toby Niederegger returned a punt 40 yard and another touchdown to make it 20-12.
Simms would answer with another big run from Leach who rushed for a 59 yard score to open the fourth quarter. The teams would trade more scores in the final frame, but Simms held on for the win.
Leach led the Tigers with 19 carries for 190 yards and two scores. He led the Simms defense with 8.5 tackles and a recovery for a touchdown. Rohrer also added two scores on the ground for Simms.
Niederegger was a standout performer for Chinook with one return touchdown and one receiving touchdown at crucial points of the game to keep the Sugarbeeters close.
Simms is schedule to close the regular season against Fort Benton next week, which would be the first of two straight games against the Longhorns since both teams have clinched a spot in the 8-Man North title game.
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