The level of physical play was unexpected. They hadn’t shown it on film, Erin Kinnaman noted, so it caught Belgrade a bit off guard.
Billings Senior forced a pair of turnovers Friday night and pounded out a 28-0 Eastern AA victory at Daylis Stadium.
“We have been a very physical team this year, and I’ll be honest with you, we were a little bit out-manned tonight,” said Kinnaman. “They were super physical. They hadn’t really shown that on film, so that was kind of a surprise to us.”
Still, Belgrade held the Broncs scoreless after a quarter and didn’t allow a score until Junior Bergen intercepted a Dyson Cheney pass and returned it for a score. Senior stretched the lead to 14-0 heading into the half on a 22-yard reception by Oran Nash-Bergen from Michael Olin.
While the Broncs (2-3, 2-1) added two more touchdowns in the second half — Brock Ping had scoring runs of 13 and 49 yards — it was by no means a one-sided affair.
Belgrade intercepted Olin three times, including a pair by Tate Bowler and another by Brady Mounts.
“Our defense is performing really well,” said Kinnaman. “We gave up two touchdowns, we gave up one late, and our offense threw a pick-six. So our defense has really stepped up to the plate.”
Riley Burman led the Panthers’ ground attack, rushing for 36 yards on 10 attempts. Belgrade finished with 69 yards rushing.
Cheney completed just 3 of his 14 passes and was intercepted twice in the first half. His final seven passes of the contest were incomplete, but Kinnaman remains confident the offense can sustain drives and produce points.
“Our offense is there, but we’re still just doing a few little things wrong that’s just not letting us kind of explode,” he said. “I have a feeling here in the next couple of games that we’re going to get things rolling. It is really small detail things that we need to get cleaned up.”
Belgrade (0-4, 0-2) returns to action next Friday hosting another winless team in Great Falls.
“After we kind of lick our wounds from this game, get back into the study room, the film room, and back on the practice field, I feel good,” Kinnaman said. “I feel good every single week … these kids are laying a great foundation and their work ethic and their want to win is just great.
“I’ll never question these kid’s effort. The time that they’ve put in the film room, the study room, on the practice field, the game field —these kids are busting their tail end. I really like the foundation that these boys are setting for the future.”
Billings Senior 28, Belgrade 0
Belgrade 0 0 0 0 - 0
Billings Senior 0 14 7 7 - 28
BS - Junior Bergen interception return (Jacksen Burckley kick)
BS - Oran Nash-Bergen 22 reception from Michael Olin (Burckley kick)
BS - Brock Ping 13 run (Burckley kick)
BS - Ping 49 run (Burckley kick)