With starting quarterback Thomas McGree limited to playing defense with a nasty cut and stitches on his finger, Butte Central needed someone to step up to ensure their playoff trip got booked.
Guido Ossello delivered.
Playing under center, the star receiver accounted for a rushing and passing score as the Maroons held off Columbia Falls 21-14 to sew up the No. 6 Western seed heading into the Class A playoffs. Central will head to Libby next Saturday for the first round.
"I'm really proud of these kids, they stuck together," said Central coach Don Peoples Jr. "Guido stepped up and found a way to be successful."
Central concludes the regular season at 5-4 and on a three-game win streak.
The Wildcats struck first in the first quarter on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Mason Peters to Bradley Nieves. The Maroons responded with a 12-yard quarterback keeper from Ossello.
The Maroons took the lead in the second quarter as Ossello connected with Brayden Harrington on a 4-yard touchdown pass.
Egan Lester found the endzone in the third quarter to put the Maroons up 21-7.
Columbia Falls trimmed Central's lead to 21-14 in the fourth quarter on a 27-yard scoring pass from Peters to Zane McCallum.
The Wildcats got two chances to tie the game with just over five minutes remaining, but the Maroons defense stood firm.
With a trip to Libby on tap and McGree expected to be have his stitches removed and be back in playing form by mid week, Peoples and his team are optimistic about the postseason.
"We're excited to be in the playoffs," Peoples said. "We're going to get healthy and go play a good football game. It feels like we've gotten a lot better in the past month."