It was closer than Whitefish would’ve liked, but the Bulldogs held off Ronan Friday night at home in a 24-23 thriller for the first win of the season.
Up 17-7 heading into the fourth quarter, Whitefish (1-4) looked in control, but Ronan wasn’t done.
The Chiefs scored 16 of their 23 points in the final quarter of play, the final touchdown coming on a quick slant with just 55 seconds to go. A successful two-point conversion cut the lead to just one.
The Bulldogs hands team did its job, however, securing a last-ditch onside kick attempt by Ronan.
Junior Jack Eisenbarth, who came up with a clutch interception and touchdown for the Dogs, said the team was ecstatic to pick up their first W at home.
“It feels awesome, it’s great to be at home and I’m just glad we got it done against Ronan,” Eisenbarth said after the game.
“Hopefully we keep rolling, we’ve got Polson next week for our new homecoming, so I hope we come back and roll them too.”
The Dogs were the first on the board with a booming 47-yard field goal by kicker Carver Gilman midway through the first quarter. Carver finished 1 of 2 on 47-yard kicks in the game.
Ronan in the second quarter converted a fourth down punt fake and had a momentum-killing interception called back on a Whitefish penalty.
The Chiefs were able to punch in a 5-yard touchdown to go up 7-3.
The Dogs answered with a touchdown of their own. A seven-minute drive concluded with a 2-yard quarterback sneak on fourth down by Forrest Kobelt.
The Dogs led 10-7 at the half.
Whitefish scored again on a 4-yard run by Eisenbarth, but the Chiefs came roaring back with a 19-yard quarterback scramble.
Down 17-7 and driving in the fourth, the Chiefs made it down to the Whitefish 25 before Eisenbarth came up with a huge interception, taking it back to midfield. Kobelt followed that up with his second touchdown of the night on another quarterback sneak.
“I had deep coverage and I just dropped back, saw the [receiver] was a little deep and the pass was coming in short, so I came up and grabbed it,” Eisenbarth said of the interception. “Running down the field I saw some awesome blocks by my boys and we just got it done.”
Kobelt finished with 104 yards rushing on 25 attempts and two scores for Whitefish.
Dillon Muth recovered a fumble to go alongside Eisenbarth’s interception.
This weekend the Dogs will host Polson for their homecoming game after the original homecoming game against Corvallis in September was canceled.
Polson sits even with Whitefish in Northwest A conference standings at a 1-4 record, 1-1 in conference play.
That game will begin at 7 p.m. at Memorial Field. Homecoming king and queen will be crowned at halftime.
Ronan 0 7 0 16 — 23
Whitefish 3 7 7 7 — 24
W — Carver Gilman, 47 field goal
R — Bubba Bush 5 run (kick good)
W — Forrest Kolbelt 2 run (Gilman kick)
W — Jack Eisenbarth 4 run (Gilman kick)
R — Eric Dolence 19 run (Dolence pass to Hap Cheff)
W — Kolbelt 1 run (Gilman kick)
R — Elijah Durheim 5 pass from Dolence (Dolence pass to Durheim), 55 second left