Lame Deer, Montana (Sept. 22) — Playing their third game in 7 days, this time at Lame Deer in a picturesque autumn setting ripe for ambush, it would have made sense that Lodge Grass would show some weariness or maybe the flatness that plagued the Indians early against Plenty Coups.
With the enticing smell of barbecue in the air, the forecasted rain showers holding off and a sizable crowd mostly wearing turquoise and black assembled to witness the Morning Stars 2023 homecoming game against the team most Lame Deer fans consider their biggest rival, it would definitely have made sense for the Morning Stars to come out both guns firing to exact a bit of revenge for last season’s 26-20 overtime loss in Lodge Grass.
However, the Indians of Lodge Grass had a different idea, and the ambush ensued.
The Morning Stars received the opening kick-off and started the game’s first drive at their own 20-yard line. Three plays later it was fourth down and 1-yard to go for LD. The Stars decided to roll the dice in their own territory but the Indians defense was up to the task, stopping Lame Deer in their tracks.
Taking over at the Morning Star 29-yard line, star senior Lodge Grass running back Silas Howe broke loose for a 29-yard touchdown run. The score was called back due to a holding penalty on the Indians. The contest was, overall, heavily flagged on both sides.
The negated Howe touchdown run would, however, serve as a sign of things to come. LG bounced back and moved the football deep inside LD territory, but the drive stalled as the Indians ran out of downs at the Morning Star 5-yard line.
However, Lame Deer could not move the football effectively against the energetic LG defense and a very gutsy, if not questionable, fourth down decision not to punt at their own 13-yard line led to a turnover on downs after the Lodge Grass defense smothered the Stars' attempt at a toss sweep, setting up an LG first down at the Stars 9-yard line and shortly thereafter, a 9-yard touchdown run by Silas Howe put the Indians up 6-0.
Lame Deer mishandled the ensuing kickoff and sophomore Nehemiah Nomee recovered the loose ball for the Indians in Lame Deer territory. Three plays later Lodge Grass turned the football back over to the Morning Stars on an interception. The Indians defense, however, was too much for the Stars to contend with and seniors Todd Amyotte and Sean Turns Plenty teamed up for a safety, putting LG up 8-0 and setting up a free kick from Lame Deer.
The Indians then took over at the LD 12-yard line and touchdown machine Silas Howe ran it in from 12 yards to put the Indians up 14-0.
The Morning Stars started the next offensive drive at their own 21-yard line, but remained stymied by the stingy LG defense, this time led by a tackle for loss by Todd Amyotte.
After another unsuccessful fourth down decision by Lame Deer to go for a first down instead of punting deep in their own territory, Lodge Grass took advantage of the field position with senior quarterback Myron Little Light hitting junior Myron Backbone for a 9-yard touchdown and a 20-0 lead.
Lame Deer started their next drive with much better field position at their own 35-yard line but Silas Howe picked off a Morning Star pass to set the Indians deep in Lame Deer territory as the first quarter came to a close.
Lodge Grass turned to a bit of trickery and, on a reverse run/pass option, Todd Amyotte fired a 19-yard touchdown strike to Myron Little Light for a 26-0 lead.
The Morning Stars could not generate any offense against the Lodge Grass Orange Crush defense and wisely punted the ball back to the Indians, who turned the ball back over to LD on downs at the Indians 30-yard line. Once again, the LG defense held strong and Lame Deer gave the ball back to the Indians with a turnover on downs deep inside Lodge Grass territory.
LG struck back impressively with big plays, including a 50-yard touchdown strike on a pass from Myron Little Light to Silas Howe and, for the first time in 5 tries, a successful Lodge Grass 2-point conversion attempt on a run by Silas Howe.
Perhaps much to the surprise of the large Lame Deer fan contingency, the Indians took a 34-0 lead into halftime. By this point, fairly heavy rain began to fall which, combined with the lopsided score, thinned the crowd considerably.
To open the second half, Lodge Grass kept pouring it on as Sean Turns Plenty returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to put the Indians up 40-0 and triggering the continuously running game clock under the Montana High School Association’s “mercy rule”.
Lame Deer turned the ball over to the Indians on downs, once again, and Lodge Grass proceeded to impressively march down the field in a 50 yard drive capped by a 7-yard Silas Howe touchdown run, his fourth touchdown of the game, for a 46-0 lead.
Late in the third quarter, Lame Deer was finally able to move the football effectively and scored a touchdown on the last play of the quarter to stop the bleeding and draw within 46-6.
Game play moved into the fourth quarter with freshman backup quarterback Keenan Flying filling in for an injured Myron Little Light. Despite the sloppy conditions, Flying was superb throwing for three fourth quarter touchdowns, including two more to Silas Howe (who finished with a total of 6 touchdowns).
By the time the running clock mercifully read 0:00, the Indians had lit it up to the score of 66-6, the biggest Lodge Grass margin of victory since their 68-0 win over the Morning Stars during the 2017 season. It was also the fewest points allowed by the Indians since last season's 52-6 win at Saint Labre.
While the win does not count towards the Southeast Division standings, the LG football team (now 2-2) will take a tremendous amount of momentum back to Lodge Grass for the 2023 homecoming on Sept. 29 versus Saint Labre (0-2).
Expect to see a lot of orange at Clifford Singer Field under the Friday night lights with a surging Indians team hosting an old conference rival.
Lame Deer (1-2), according to the school website, will play Park City (1-3) on Sept. 29, but there is not an indication as to whether it will be home or away.