Bulldogs chew up Browning Indians in season opener
Thu, 09/01/2016 - 5:00am admin
By Wes Eben, Big Horn County News
The Bulldogs opened their football season a week early with a last-minute schedule addition.
The last minute addition was a surprise even to the coaching staff.
“Wednesday, we were notified that our season would start Saturday with a 2 p.m. home game with the Browning Indians,” said Head Coach Mike Flamm.
It all ended well, as the Bulldogs were able to run, pass and do about anything they wanted against the Indians, easily defeating them 40-6 for a great start to their 2016 season.
This was the first meeting of the Browning Indians and Hardin Bulldog football teams. Both teams have not had winning seasons for several years. The Bulldogs were 1 and 7 last year and the Indians were 0 and 8. The advantage the Bulldogs have is they play in the Eastern A Conference, which means the lowest team in the Eastern A is generally much stronger than even the middle ranked teams in the Central and Western Conferences, as was proved Saturday.
Saturday was a beautiful day for football: about 80 degrees, bright sun with a few clouds and a slight wind.
The Bulldogs shut down the Indians for 44 minutes of the game, but a coverage breakdown with four minutes left to play gave Browning their only score.
Hardin had to wait until their second possession to get the offense untracked. On their second possession, they put together a 65-yard drive that ended with quarterback Codi Small stretching the ball over the goal line on a 4-yard run. Small completed the game with 13 carries for 31 yards and one touchdown.
His greatest offensive contribution was as leader and passer. Small completed 9 of 17 passes for 82 yards and 2 TDs.
Coach Flamm had solid praise for Small, saying, “I think Codi gained a lot of confidence. Last year lots of people were down on him, thinking as a sophomore he wasn’t the guy to start. He is getting better. He’s an athlete.”
Small’s main targets were junior Tight End Justin Zier (3 receptions for 35 yards and 1 TD) and senior Running Back Stephan Walks Over Ice (also with 3 receptions, but only 8 yards). However, Walks Over Ice had five carries for 49 yards.
Walks Over Ice was a major contributor to the running game last year and has picked up where he left off. Dustin Proctor and Ezekiel Coyote Runs are also back and had a solid game. The newest edition is sophomore J’Ree Old Bull, who lugged the ball 10 times for 50 yards and two TDs.
According to Coach Flamm, he knew it would be a challenge playing a week early.
“We didn’t have any special teams in,” he said. “We’ve been focusing mainly on offense and our defense wasn’t completely rounded out.”
Overall, Flamm was pleased with his Bulldogs’ performance.
“I feel our defense played pretty well,” he said. “We missed some tackles and that was a bit frustrating, because we could’ve really limited their touches in the first half. We made some real mistakes on offense, but I knew those things were going to happen. Overall, I‘m happy with them.”
Junior Linebacker Gidion Herbel led the Bulldogs on defense with 8 tackles, 1 sack and 1 tackle for a loss. Right behind him was senior Linebacker Shelten Simmons with 7 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.
The strengths Coach Flamm saw in Saturday’s game were varied: “We threw the ball more. We worked on that this summer getting the ball out to receivers and making plays in space. We have three, four guys that can run the ball pretty well. It was just a matter of trying to find ways to get guys to the edge. I’m happy with the way we threw the ball against man-to-man pressure. I thought the effort was good and their attitude was good. The rest we can work on. We will get better on all of it.
“We were able to get a lot of kids into the game. This game will help us get into game shape. It has done a better job than the scrimmage would have last night, so I’m glad we played it.”
This Friday, the Bulldogs are at home again hosting the Havre Blue Ponies. Coach Flamm doesn’t know much about this year’s Blue Ponies.
“They have a new coach coming in,” he said. “They lost their top quarterback, but with a new coach you just don’t know what they will do.”
Hardin lost 14 to 13 in a very close, away game to Havre last year. Friday night is Orange Crush Night, so the audience is encouraged to wear their orange, and come out and watch the Bulldogs ride the Blue Ponies.
Hardin 40, Browning 6
Hardin 7 13 6 14 - 40
Browning 0 0 0 6 - 6
H: Codi Small 4 yd run (Ezekiel Coyote Runs kick good)
H: J’Ree Old Bull 27 yd run
H: Coyote Runs 3 yd run
(Coyote Runs kick good)
H: J’Ree Old Bull 1 yd run
H: Small 20 yd pass to Justin Zier (Coyote Runs kick good)
H: Small 1 yd pass to
(Darnell Left Hand kick good)
B: Dereck Loring 25 yd pass to Kolby Kittson (2 pt. failed)