406 MT Sports

BILLINGS — Westby-Grenora senior quarterback Jeremiah Paine threw for three touchdowns passes in the Thunder's win over Froid-Lake on Saturday, doing just enough to give him the 6-Man passing touchdown record at 119.

Paine entered the game with 116 touchdown passes, two short of tying the previous record which was held by former Thunder standout Cooper Olson. Olson set that record from 2012-2014.

"We've been blessed with two really good quarterbacks," Thunder football coach Troy Walters told 406mtsports.com over the phone on Saturday. "As a coach, you can't ask for a couple of better kids to lead your program."

Paine only needed four offensive series to break the record as Westby-Grenora won 46-6. On the Thunder's opening possession, they turned it over on a fumble and Froid-Lake went on to take a 6-0 lead. 

Paine's first touchdown found Ridge Sargent for a 24-yard score. On his second, he connected with Bruce Carter on a 25-yard touchdown.

Then, a few seconds into the second quarter, Paine connected with good friend and senior Liam Nelson, which broke the record at 119. For Nelson, it was his first touchdown reception of his career.

"He's been playing with us since seventh grade in our program," Walters said. "Our goal was to get him a catch today and he's the one that caught the record-breaker so that was an awesome deal. Our kids were more excited about that than the record.

"When I called the play in, I said, 'Go get your buddy this one.' And Liam goes, 'I won't drop it coach! I won't drop it!' Our kids went ecstatic because Liam's the one that caught the touchdown."

Once Paine broke the record, Walters said he gave his star quarterback the rest of the game off. The Thunder led 39-6 at that point and he wanted to give his subs more reps. 

Paine has been the starting quarterback for the Thunder since his sophomore year. He is also closing in on the 6-Man passing yards record. He needed around 300 yards coming into the game against Froid-Lake to break that record. Olson still holds that record at 6,843 yards.

"I asked Jeremiah right away what he wanted to do with this and he goes, 'Coach, let's just play ball,'" Walters said. "That's the type of kid Jeremiah is. Once the record was set, we gave him a game ball, Jeremiah took a picture with his parents and went back out there and kicked the extra point. That's the type of kid he is."

Walters said the team celebrated once the extra point was kicked for a little bit.

"Jeremiah is such a laid back kid," Walters said. "After all of this was done and we're sitting in the huddle, and I said, 'Congratulations Jeremiah on your record. Do you have anything to say?' First thing he says is, 'Thanks everybody for catching all of the balls. I know that all I have to do is throw it up there and you guys will make the plays.'"

The Thunder (7-0) have been ranked No. 1 in the 406mtsports.com 6-Man football rankings since the beginning of the season. They are set on a collision course with second-ranked Wibaux (7-0) this Friday. The winner of that game will take sole possession of first place in the 6-Man East.

Email Kyle Hansen at kyle.hansen@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsHansen

Prep sports reporter at the Billings Gazette

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