Titans

What a season it has been for the Power-Dutton/Brady Titans’ six-man football team, capping it off with a second-place finish in the state championship game Nov. 20 at Dutton.

Saturday’s 43-0 loss to Froid/Medicine Lake in the state championship game was a hard way to end the season, but the score doesn’t reflect how hard the Titans played before a packed crowd on a breezy but overall nice day for November in Dutton. “These boys left it all on the field. They played with heart, and I couldn’t be prouder of them and all they have accomplished,” Titan head coach Tom Tranmer said.

The Froid/Medicine Lake RedHawks ended the season undefeated; in fact, they have a 20-plus game winning streak, having not lost in the last two years. Power-Dutton-Brady ended a historic season with an 11-2 record — with both their loses at the hands of the RedHawks — and played host to its first-ever state championship game.

Interviewed on Sunday after the game, Tranmer congratulated the RedHawks’ on an excellent game and taking the championship for the second year in a row. “It was how it should have been in the last game of the season where both teams play knowing there is no tomorrow,” the coach said. “They’re a great team, have a lot of athletes on that team and they were all focused during the game Saturday. They came ready to play today and really controlled today from start to finish.”

“We knew going into the contest it was going to be a very physical game,” Tranmer said. “We also knew for us to win we would have to play a near perfect game which is pretty tough at any level.”

Football, especially at the six-man level where anyone can score at any given time, is a game of momentum and it was on the RedHawks’ side from the beginning. They scored a couple quick touchdowns in the opening quarter, which set the tone of the contest, and they didn’t let up even as their lead grew, Tranmer said.

Scoring wise, the RedHawks’ finished the first quarter with a 14-0 lead and extended it to 29-0 at the half. Neither team scored in the third quarter and FML finished the last quarter with 14 more points. The stats were lopsided with Froid-Medicine Lake generating close to 270 yards offense and the Titans having just shy of 75.

The RedHawks’ offense was impressive but Tranmer said it was their defense that truly won the game. Running a 2-2-2 defensive, they all did their job and just didn’t let anything by, he added.

“I couldn’t be more pleased they didn’t give up despite being behind. They played till the very last play,” Tranmer said. Tyler Ellsworth took a helmet to the leg early in the game and Spencer Lehnerz went down hard and had to come out for a few plays as did Jacob Feldmann and John Baringer. “With these injuries, those coming off the sideline stepped up in the title game and filled in when asked and where they were needed,” coach said.

“It really has been a magical season,” he said. “I have said it over and over, this is a pretty special group of seniors. They have been good role models for the younger players. More importantly than being good athletes and teammates, they are nice young men who I see going places as they continue on their journey.”

Referring to the Kenny Chesney song, Tranmer said these boys truly were “The Boys of Fall” this year. “They went all the way to the end — something only two teams have had the opportunity to do each year,” Tranmer said. “It started in June at the Montana Tech camp and ended on Nov. 20.”

He also thanked the assistant coaches, saying, “It is a team effort as coaches, we all give equally to the program and all care about these young men.”

Given a day for the emotion of losing the championship game to subside, senior players interviewed on Sunday said they were all sore but happy. Of course, they were disappointed they hadn’t won but were thrilled how the season had gone, how far they went in the playoffs and how great it was to share the winning season with their teammates, coaches, parents and everyone from the three communities.

Tyler Ellsworth said the team’s first goal was to win the conference and after achieving that goal they set their sights on the championship game. “Just knowing we made it to the last game of the season and that we couldn’t go any further, we left it all on the field,” he said. For Ellsworth it was extra special to play the game with the other seniors, several of whom he has played football with since sixth grade.

When asked about the support the team received this season, Ellsworth said it helped so much. “We appreciated everyone who attended the games and helped getting ready for the playoff games,” he added. “It just shows what a little town can do, it was cool.”

Ellsworth had high praise for his coaches. Tranmer, or better known by the players as “Mr. T” or “Coach T,” assistant coaches Darrell Laubach and Leroy Taylor, “they are all great,” he said.

Fellow senior teammates John Baringer and Gavin Sealey echoed Ellsworth’s praise for the community support and how lucky they are to have just amazing coaches. Coach Taylor was their football coach in junior high and some of the boys have had Coach Laubach as a drivers ed teacher. In his 40th year of coaching it isn’t surprising, Coach T is known for all things sports at Dutton/Brady and it is all about the kids. Baringer said it shows what kind of coach he is that he called him on Sunday to see how he was doing after the game. “That is pretty special,” he said.

“It is pretty amazing we made it this far into the playoffs and played on the last weekend,” Baringer said.

Asked if they had a favorite game during the season, for Baringer it was the win over Shields Valley, after having lost to them last year in the semi-inal game. For Sealey it was the quarterfinal game against White Sulphur Springs. “White Sulphur was undefeated going into the game,” Sealey said, “and it was fun to travel to their field and beat them knowing how good of a team they were.”

The players agreed they didn’t care who was scoring, just that they were putting points on the score board. Baringer said the games were fun when all of them made it to the end zone.

In wrapping up the season, Tranmer said he attributes all of the hard work to the players. “They showed up at practice and gave all they had during the games,” Tranmer said. “Memories of this team will be with me through the rest of my life. I’m hoping the memories of the fun time they had and how special of season they played stays with them just as long.”

STATISTICS

Froid-Medicine Lake 14-15-0-14 — 43

Power-Dutton/Brady 0-0-0-0 — 0

FML — Ashdyn Hobbs 30-yd. run. (Kick failed.)

FML — Hobbs 27-yd. run (Kick good.)

FML — Brett Stentoft 1-yd. run. (Kick good.)

FML — Javonne Nesbit 24-yd. pass from Mason Dethman. (Nesbit pass from Dethman.)

FML — Connor Huft 11-yd. pass from Dethman. (Kick good.)