McBee took the field Friday night in Great Falls not having defeated the Red Devils since 2009. The visiting Panthers established early and often that they would not stand for extending that streak.
The Panthers (7-1, 3-0 Region 3-A) rushed for more than 400 yards in the first half, including two 65-yard touchdown sprints by Dashonnell Wright, in claiming a 60-7 region victory over Great Falls (7-1, 2-1).
McBee’s vaunted wishbone offense had its way from the opening kick. The Panthers led 20-0 after a quarter and 40-7 at the half, behind the physical running of Wright (three total first-half touchdowns), Jordan Fair and Alex Miller. The Panthers finished the game with 626 rushing yards, attempting just one pass on the game. That pass was wiped out due to a penalty.
Great Falls coach Kenneth Schofield noted the strength of the McBee rushing attack after the game. “We’ve got to understand what happened this week. When it comes down to the physical nature up front, when it comes down to our tackling, that’s what’s got to improve.
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“I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. We’ve worked hard,” said McBee coach Charlie Poole of his team’s success in the running game. “Our goal is to get the job done up front. We’ve had several battles in the trenches, and we had another battle in the trenches tonight, and our guys came through for us.”
The Red Devils attempted to mount a comeback in the second quarter, as Chris Culp found a streaking Shy Kelly for a 75-yard touchdown across the middle of the field, cutting the McBee margin to 28-7 at the time. Great Falls was unable to mount much of an offensive threat after that score.
“There’s not a whole lot to say about it, other than we just got tagged, and we did,” said Schofield. “They came off the ball and hit us hard and ran the ball right down our throat. We couldn’t stop it. We’ve got to tighten up on it.”
Poole spoke after the game about the statement this win made for his team. “Their desire: It’s all about their desire, their hunger and their (willingness) to get after it, to stick to it,” said Poole. “It’s a good group of guys, a lot of talent, and we’ve just got to not rest on our successes and understand there’s a lot of football left to play.”
Schofield, while remaining upbeat about his players and his program, spoke frankly of Friday’s result.
“There’s no way to sugar-coat it. We got beat. We got beat by a better ball club. I hate it for our kids, I hate it for our fans, but there’s really no other way to say it. ... I don’t think there’s any excuses of Homecoming, or any of that stuff that you can throw out there at the excuse board that’s going to help us out. When it came down to what was on the field, they were better than we were, and I hate to say that, but it’s true.”
McBee hosts Camden Military next Friday. Great Falls travels to Lamar.