BILLINGS – Marcus Wehr was not too keen on becoming homecoming king.
Not because he didn’t want the award. Simply put, he was not happy with the way Billings Central started its final regular season home game of the year against Lewistown.
“I really wasn’t focused on it,” Wehr said candidly. “I was angrier because of our first-half performance. I really wasn’t in the mood to get homecoming king but then we came out in the second half and really put it on them.”
That they did.
Central defeated Lewistown 49-18 on Friday night in Class A football at Herb Klindt Field. The Rams trailed early, though, as the Golden Eagles punched them in the mouth to start.
Lewistown quarterback Mitchell Norslien scored the game’s opening touchdown with a 26-yard run halfway through the first quarter. Not long after, the Golden Eagles scored on a trick play where Norslien looked to his left, threw it to Seth Norslien, who then tossed it deep to Jacob Clinton, who did the rest and put them up 12-0 early.
Jack Studer would score the first of his two touchdowns in the final seconds of the first quarter, but Mitchell Norslien hit Clinton for his second touchdown of the game putting the Golden Eagles (6-2) up 18-7 with 6:17 to go in the half.
From there, it was all Central (8-0), which would go on to score 42 unanswered points en route to the win.
“We haven’t been in a lot of big games like this,” Lewistown coach Vic Feller said. “This is a good challenge for us and they took it to us. I thought we were doing pretty well. We were up 18-7 and then the wheels came off. We just have to regroup and come back.”
The turning point occurred within a matter of minutes late in the second quarter. Lewistown had forced Central into a punt on fourth and five, but an encroachment call gave the Rams a new set of downs. Quarterback Joe Byorth then found Chrishon Dixon streaking deep for a 43-yard connection to put them on Lewistown’s two-yard line, which Duncan Kraft punched in on the next play.
Then, on the next kickoff, Lewistown fumbled and Central recovered. A couple plays later, Kraft once again found paydirt on a 20-yard score, giving the Rams a 21-18 lead and they never trailed again.
“Real big momentum changer and being able to punch that in at half and really get out and play and then walk up with a lead at halftime,” Central coach Jim Stanton said. “Really proud of the way our kids caught fire there. That was a special win for our kids.”
“It’s just great to see us beginning to play at our full potential, but I actually don’t think we’ve hit that yet,” Kraft said. “It’s just great to see us moving forward playing a really talented team and being able to bounce back after a rough start. It was one of the most fun games I’ve played in.”
Kraft would finish the game with three touchdown runs while Studer had a pair. After connection with Dixon on multiple deep gains throughout the night, Byorth found his favorite target on a 10-yard score in the fourth quarter and ran for another to seal the game.
“We have a really talented offense so when my number is called I just have to do my part,” Kraft said. “I’m glad I could help my team out.”
Wehr finished with three sacks and by the end of the game was enjoying the homecoming king coronation a little more.
“Yeah I definitely am going to enjoy it,” he said with a laugh.