Vikes enter last regular-season game unbeaten

While junior quarterback Augie Emslie, Homecoming King and senior runningback Matt Farrier and sure-handed sophomore receiver Anders Epperly dominate the stats and headlines, a converted soccer player has been just as important in preserving the Vikings’ unbeaten streak.(See story below photo and check the GALLERIES page for more pics)

Junior placekicker Shane Rieke, who was slated to play on the Bigfork High School boys soccer team, changed plans when the program was dropped, said Activities Directer Dave Creamer. Unlike college and pro football, high school special teams play can be very unpredictable. And placekicking is especially erratic. Enter Rieke, whose extra points and field goals have changed strategy for opposing teams who became desperate when they could not match the sidewinder’s accuracy. “He has made a big difference in several games,” Creamer said. The Vikings were expected to have a strong program before the season started and Rieke gave them another weapon that could mean the difference as the team enters a tough playoff stretch Oct. 29. With a bend-but-don’t break defense, a high-powered offense and Rieke’s dependable leg, the Vikings could be playing in the state championship game Nov. 19. Please check our website, Facebook page and November and December issues for recaps of this potentially historic season. Until then, here’s what the valiant Vikings have accomplished so far.

Bigfork 62, Troy 0 The Vikes opened the season with a 55-point, first-half barrage against host Troy on Aug. 26, before they attended any classes. It was a Gale Sayers-like showcase for the versatile Farrier who scored four touchdowns. He had a pair of 3-yard TD runs, caught a 48-yard scoring pass from Emslie and returned a kickoff 82 yards to start the second half and close the scoring as the coaches started substituting freely. Emslie threw just three passes, and completed them all for 144 yards and three TDs in the District 7B non-conference game. Slick sophomore Luke Taylor scored on a 29-yard run and picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown. Sophomore back Randy Stultz scored on a winding 65-yard run just before halftime.

Bigfork _ 35 20 7 0 _ 62 Troy _ 0 0 0 0 _ 0 First quarter B - Anders Epperly 31 pass from Emslie (Austin Varner kick)

B - Matt Farrier 3 run (Varner kick) B - Matt Farrier 48 pass from Emslie (Varner kick) B - Epperly 65 pass from Emslie (Varner kick) B - Stultz 65 run (Varner kick) Second quarter B - Farrier 3 run (kick failed) B - Taylor interception return (Varner kick) B - Taylor 29 run (Varner kick) Third quarter B - Farrier 82 kick return (Varner kick)

Bigfork 44, Ronan 30 Despite a late Chiefs’ hook-and-ladder, the Vikes extinguished a Ronan comeback in their home opener Sept. 2. In a competitive cross-county game, Ronan rolled up 415 yards of offense but Bigfork’s stubborn, opportunistic defense held in the red zone, the offense was effective and efficient and special teams added a bonus score. The Chiefs ran the opening kickoff back to their own 42 and drove to the Bigfork 16 yard line. But Junior Defensive End Chase Chappuis and Taylor sacked the Ronan QB. On the next play, Stultz picked off a pass and returned it 82 yards for a lightning bolt touchdown. Junior receiver Auston Varner caught scoring strikes of 9 and 19 yards from Emslie. Reike added a 19-yard field goal and six extra points to help the Vikes to a 2-0 record.

Ronan _ 0 12 6 12 - 30 Bigfork _ 7 21 9 7 - 44 B - Stultz interception return (Rieke kick) Second Quarter R - Brendon Blood interception return (conversion failed) B - Epperly 20 pass from Matt Farrier (Rieke kick) R - Happy Cheff 15 pass from Kasey Mock (conversion failed) B - Farrier 84 kick return (Rieke kick) B - Varner 19 pass from Augie Emslie (Rieke kick) Third Quarter B - Rieke 19 yard field goal R - Mock 44 run (kick failed) B - Farrier 5 run (kick failed) Fourth Quarter R - Cheff 24 pass from Mock (kick failed) B - Varner 9 pass from Emslie (Rieke kick) R - Aaron Misa 25 run (kick failed)

Bigfork 28, Conrad 26 The Cowboys closed within 21-20 before halftime, but in the third quarter, Epperly caught a 64-yard scoring pass from Emslie and Reike’s kick gave the Vikes a tenuous 28-20 edge. The teams battled for tense minutes until the Cowboys scored on an 18-yard pass to close within 2 points – ironically the difference in extra points. Reike was 4-for-4 while Conrad converted only one 2-point attempt out of four tries. Still, The Cowboys had a last gasp chance to win but missed a field goal with seconds left. These two teams could easily meet again when the 7B playoffs get rolling. A rematch would be welcome. Bigfork racked up 352 yards of offense while Conrad finished with 355. Against the toughest defense he’s seen all season, Emslie was productive, completing 10 of 20 attempts for 192 yards and two Tds. Farrier, running like a terrier, gained 160 yards and two touchdowns on just 26 carries, a whopping 6.2 yards per carry and gobbling up swatches of game time and plenty of first downs.

Conrad 0 20 0 6 - 26 Bigfork 7 14 7 0 - 28 First Quarter B - Matt Farrier 5 run (Shane Rieke kick) Second Quarter C - Hunter Mycke 1 run (run failed) B - Farrier 36 run (Rieke kick) C - Austin Padilla 17 pass from Bert Paulsen (run failed) B - Logan Taylor 33 pass from Augie Emslie (Rieke kick) C - Clint Judisch 7 pass from Bert Paulsen (Mycke run) Third Quarter B - Anders Epperly 64 pass from Augie Emslie (Rieke kick) Fourth Quarter C - Ryan Murack 18 pass from Paulsen (pass failed)

Bigfork 41, St. Ignatius 0 It took the Vikings a quarter to get rolling but after that, the the Bulldogs couldn’t keep pace. Emslie, 8-for-12 for 183, threw two touchdowns in the second quarter and two more in the third to ice the non-conference game. Logan Taylor caught scoring passes of 23 and 53 yards, Farrier caught a 64-yard TD pass and Epperly snagged a 25-yard strike. Farrier also scored on a 29-yard run and Stultz (10 carries for 133 yards) sprinted in from 55. Bigfork _ 7 20 14 0 - 41 St. Ignatius _ 0 0 0 0 - 0 B - Farrier 64 pass from Emslie ( Rieke kick) B - Epperly 25 pass from Emslie (Rieke kick) B - Taylor 23 pass from Emslie (kick failed) B - Farrier 29 run (Rieke kick) B - Randy Stultz 55 run (Rieke kick) B - Taylor 53 pass from Emslie (Rieke kick)

Bigfork 35, Thompson Falls 20 Farrier, who was crowned Homecoming King (see details in the front section) earned his crown, scoring three rushing touchdowns on 24 carries and 132 yards. The game was closer than the final score would indicate and was the first time this season the Vikings (Gasp!) trailed on the scoreboard. The Bluehawks led 14-7 late in the second quarter when Taylor snagged an 18-yard pass from Emslie and Rieke’s kick knotted the halftime tally at 14. Stultz carried 12 times for 119 yards in the District 7B contest. Emslie threw 18 times, completing 10 for 150 yards and two scores. Epperly caught one of the scoring throws.

T. Falls _ 0 14 0 6 - 20 Bigfork _ 7 7 14 7 - 35 B - Matt Farrier 1 run (Rieke kick) T - McKenzie Holt 10 run (Klaus kick) T - Jase Sorenson 1 run (Klaus kick) B - Taylor 18 pass from Emslie (Rieke kick) B - Farrier 3 run (Rieke kick) B - Epperly 29 pass from Emslie (Rieke kick) T - Holt 23 run (kick failed) B - Farrier 20 run (Rieke kick)

Bigfork 49, Malta 21 After a tight first half, the Vikes rallied for 29 points in the second half as Farrier ran for scores of 1, 2, 5 and 17 yards and threw a tricky pass to Epperly for a 31-yard TD. Stultz ran 25 times for 179 yards and scored on runs of 7 and 65 yards as Bigfork backs carried 51 times for 352 yards. Farrier added 118 yards on just 17 tries and completed two of five throws for 44 yards. Epperly hauled in four throws for 70 yards. Malta _ 7 7 7 0 — 21 Bigfork _ 7 13 15 14 — 49 B — Randy Stultz 7 run (Rieke kick) M — Lopez interception return (Simanton kick) B — Matt Farrier 1 run (kick failed) M — Trace Simonson 1 run (Simanton kick) B — Anders Epperly 31 pass from Farrier (Rieke kick) B — Stultz 65 run (Stultz pass from Emslie) B — Farrier 2 run (Rieke kick) M — Simonson 3 run (Simanton kick) BF— Farrier 5 run (Rieke kick) BF — Farrier 17 run (Rieke kick)

Bigfork 48, Libby 6 In what amounted to a tuneup for the season finale, the visiting Vikings felled the Loggers in a D7B game. Farrier (16 carries, 152 yards) scored on runs of 2, 4 and 28 yards and caught an 80-yard TD pass from Emslie as Bigfork piled up 523 yards of total offense. Emslie (6-14-191-3-0) threw TD passes of 37 and 46 yards to Taylor, who caught four passes for 102 yards. Epperly scored on a 22-yard sprint and ran for 108 yards on just three carries.

Libby _ 0 6 0 0 - 6

Bigfork _ 15 12 14 7 - 48 B - safety, ball snapped out of end zone B - Farrier 2 run (kick failed) B - Taylor 37 pass from Emslie (Varner kick) L - JJ Davis 3 run (pass failed) B - Farrier 4 run (kick failed) B - Farrier 80 pass from Emslie (kick failed) B - Farrier 28 run (Varner kick) B - Taylor 46 pass from Emslie (Varner kick) B - Anders Epperly 22 run (Varner kick)

The Vikings were 7-0 heading into the regular-season finale Oct. 14 at Eureka.

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