The Flint Creek Titans are headed to what has become a familiar place for the co-op football team — the 8-man state championship football game.
With a 48-18 win over Fort Benton, the Titans are headed to the state championship game for the third time in four years. Flint Creek, which is made up of players from Drummond and Philipsburg, claimed state championships in 2017 and 2018.
It is the second-straight season the Longhorns have fallen in the 8-man semifinals.
"We're extremely excited," Flint Creek coach Mike Cutler said. "You know, Fort Benton is tough as hell and it was just a dogfight. We knew it was going to be a fistfight the entire time."
The Longhorns got on the board in the first quarter when William Ullery found Montana Tech football commit Jace Thompson for a 10-yard touchdown pass. The PAT failed and Titan quarterback Kade Cutler rushed in from three yards out in the waning minutes to tie the game.
Fort Benton fired back on the first play of the second quarter for Ullery's second passing touchdown, a 30-yard reception by Hayden Diekhans, an Oredigger basketball commit.
That gave the Longhorns a 12-6 lead, but Cutler again found the end zone on the next Flint Creek drive to tie up the game. Ullery found Diekhans for a third passing touchdown in the first half, but once again the Titans managed to tie the game.
Preston Metesh scored that touchdown for the Titans, which knotted the score at 18 with 2:19 left in the first half. Flint Creek stopped a Fort Benton drive before halftime, which was a critically important moment for the Titans.
"They were able to march down and the kids held firm and we got a big defensive stop right there at halftime," Cutler said. "We were going to get the ball out of half and I had saved a couple formations that we've been practicing all year long."
Those formations seemed to work. Flint Creek scored 30 unanswered points to end the game, including 22 in the third quarter alone.
Kade Cutler, a Montana State football commit, scored all four touchdowns in the second half. He found Metesh for a 3-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter and scored on the ground three times to help close out the game.
"The kids did their job," Mike Cutler said. "Kade, you know, his number was just called this week. We've ridden Preston Metesh the last few weeks and, you know, we prepare as a team and it doesn't matter who it is. That's who we're going to ride. It was Kade today. It could be Preston next week. It could be one of our tight ends, you just don't know.
"So Kade had a good game, but every one of our kids played awesome today."
Cutler finished with six total touchdowns and two forced fumbles. Flint Creek forced several turnovers in the second half, which helped flip the game the Titans' way.
Next Saturday's state championship will be Cutler's last as head coach of Drummond-Philipsburg, as he is stepping away from coaching after the season in order to watch his son play for the Bobcats.
Flint Creek topped Forsyth 44-30 for the 2017 state title and Great Falls Central 50-14 in the 2018 championship. The Titans will host Scobey in the state title game.
"We knew it was going to be a fist fight and we were calm, cool and collected," Cutler said.