With two win streaks, an undefeated season and Class A playoff implications on the line, everyone in attendance at Vigilante Field knew they were getting a high-intensity battle.
Dillon (6-1) took down Libby (6-1) 28-12 in a physical contest, that saw 13 total penalties and an immense amount of work on the ground as the two sides combined for 340 rushing yards.
However, it was the Beavers’ ability to perform through the air both offensively and defensively that separated themselves from the Loggers.
Dillon quarterback Justus Peterson threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, initially getting the Beavers out to a 21-0 lead, which head coach Zach McRae says was a big part of their success.
“Coming out, we took shots early,” McRae said. “I think that really paid off, but Libby battled and it was a physical game. To my knowledge, we didn’t have a turnover and that was big for us.”
What was an explosive beginning for Dillon translated to an early hole for Libby, which Loggers head coach Neil Fuller said was unacceptable if the formerly undefeated Loggers want to compete at the top level.
“We got off to a bad start,” Fuller said. “We had penalties early on, and you can’t do that against a great football team. Dillon’s tougher than nails, and if we wanna compete with the big dogs, we have to play more disciplined football early.”
Libby was led by quarterback Jeff Offenbecher, who was the focal point of the Loggers’ offense. The senior earned 158 yards on 26 carries, averaging just over six yards an attempt.
McRae had nothing but praise for the opposing quarterback, but that he was proud of his defense for standing tall against an offense that was averaging 41.5 points a game entering Friday.
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“Offenbecher is a stud,” McRae said. “He’s a good athlete and tough to bring down. We saw that on film, but we knew if we could corral him we’d have a chance, and I’m proud of our defense continuing to step up.”
Peterson’s two touchdowns were matched by two interceptions from the senior, who nabbed two momentum-stopping turnovers in the second half.
His favorite moment of the game? The flea flicker that put Dillon up 21-0, and Peterson says he can’t help but get excited whenever the Beavers get creative.
“I smile,” Peterson said. “’This is going to be fun.’ I hand it off to the outside, the back flips it to the receiver, and the receiver flips it back to me and it worked perfectly.”
Peterson’s two passing touchdowns were matched by scoring runs from running backs Michael Hupp and Erik Westman, with Westman’s 34-yard run late in the fourth quarter ensuring a win for the Beavers.
The Loggers now look to rebound after their first loss of the season. With a road trip to 2018 Class A runner-ups Hamilton up next, Fuller says that this was a good time for his offense to face adversity.
“It was a good wake up call for us,” Fuller said. “Overall, I thought we played well defensively, but offensively we’d move the ball but we have to execute at the end.”
While Libby goes to Hamilton, Dillon also hits the road as they travel to 1-6 Ronan this upcoming Friday.