BILLINGS — The Billings Senior offense waits for no one.
Pushing the pedal to the metal a little harder in the second half, the up-tempo Broncs pulled away from Missoula Hellgate 42-6 on a crisp Friday night at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium.
After leading 14-0 at halftime, the No. 3 ranked Broncs (6-2) scored on four of their five possessions in the second half and had touchdowns just 63 seconds apart.
“We try to go a fast tempo,” said senior Conrad Hope, who plays left tackle on offense and defensive end when the other team has the ball. “We want to make sure the defense isn’t ready.”
Senior quarterback Matt Plasterer ran for one score and passed for three touchdowns. He had scoring passes of 11, 35 and 38 yards to Oran Nash-Bergen, Junior Bergen and Max Evenson.
Both Junior Bergen’s score and the touchdown catch by Evenson came on the first play of a drive.
“We adjust our tempo to what the other team gives us,” said Broncs’ coach Chris Murdock. “A lot of times, we execute better when we play fast.”
Gunnar Hegg added an 18-yard touchdown run and Brock Ping a one-yard scoring dive.
The game went to a running clock in the fourth quarter.
Senior went 80 yards in less than two minutes to score on the final play of the first half, Plasterer floating a pass to Nash-Bergen in the right corner of the end zone, giving the Broncs a 14-0 lead.
“We were a little slow in the first half,” Hope said. “At halftime, the coaches talked about fixing the little things, picking up the pace.”
Senior scored on its first possession of the third quarter — Hegg’s only carry of the game — and scored again 63 seconds later after a fumble recovery by Bubba Bergen. That created Plasterer’s 35-yard scoring pass to Junior Bergen, who out-fought the Hellgate defender for the ball.
“Early, we were trying to figure out what they were going to do defensively,” Murdock said. “I liked the fact we made the plays we needed. Whether it was a few yards for a first down or making the big play.”
Plasterer finished 24 of 31 passing for 285 yards. He was intercepted once. Junior Bergen had 11 catches for 103 yards, while Oran Nash Bergen had six receptions for 93 yards.
Austin Conway had an interception for the Broncs’ defense, while Morgan Harmon and Kyle Smith had a quarterback sack, with Harmon and Garrett Dostal sharing a sack.
“Our defense, we did a pretty good job of stopping their run,” said Hope.
Hellgate scored on the final play of the game, a 22-yard pass from Aidan Gilham to Ian Finch. Knights’ starting quarterback Rollie Worster finished 7 of 16 passing for 134 yards. He also ran the ball 15 times for 39 yards.
“We tackled really well and our defensive line did a good job of keeping their quarterback in the pocket,” said Murdock.
Hope admitted the up-tempo pace does take its toll.
“I thought I was going to puke. I was tired,” he said. “But you’ve got to keep pushing through it. That’s football.”