Down 16-10 to Polson with less than a minute to go, Bulldogs quarterback Forrest Kobelt escaped the pocket, rolled left and found running back Jack Eisenbarth, who was brought down at the 1-yard line with 25 seconds to go. A blocking penalty set the Dogs back to the Polson 47, however, and when Kobelt dropped back again the Pirates defensive line did not let him get away.
The sack ran out the clock and handed Polson (2-4) the Northwest A conference win on the Bulldogs’ homecoming night.
“We just keep beating ourselves,” head coach Chad Ross said of the game. “You watch the film, we’ll get one or two first downs and then get a penalty. Polson won, but we also beat ourselves with mental mistakes.”
Polson was first on the board after a seven-minute drive concluded with a fourth-down passing touchdown from quarterback Bo Kelley to Trevor Schultz in the opening quarter.
Whitefish’s defense forced a punt on Polson’s next drive, but a Chad Queen interception got the Pirates offense back on the field.
Polson managed a field goal to go up 10-0 with two minutes left in the half.
The Dogs answered with three points of their own on the ensuing drive. Carver Gilman hit from 47 yards to bring the dogs within seven heading into halftime.
The Pirates extended their lead with a 15-yard screen pass from Kelley to Ryker Wenderoth to go up 16-3 later in the second half.
A fake punt kept Whitefish in the game later in the fourth — Mark Anderson tossed a deep unexpected lob to Josh Dudley for the first. The drive concluded in a 1-yard Kobelt run for the touchdown to cut the lead to just six.
Ross said while good things were happening on the field, mental mistakes and personnel shifts due to injuries continue to plague his young team.
“We did some good some things. We’ve got a couple guys hurt, so with some other guys jumping into new positions we had some mistakes that might have made a difference,” he said. “It just comes down to experience, being in the right place and communicating. We’re still young. We’re starting to get better, but each week we have a new kid in a new position. If you look at the first game against Hamilton to where we’re at now, we’re way better.”
Whitefish heads to Columbia Falls this week for another conference match up.
The Wildcats currently lead the Northwest A conference with a 4-1 record, 3-0 in league play.
Ross said the focus this week in practice is heading to Columbia Falls with some resiliency and a never-give-up attitude.
“Columbia Falls is going to try to score 50. It’s a big rivalry game, anything can still happen,” he said. “If we can compete every down, that’s going to make a difference.”
Polson 7 3 0 6 – 16
Whitefish 0 3 0 6 – 10
P – Trevor Schultz 8-yard pass from Bo Kelley (Connor Lanier kick)
P – Lanier 40-yard field goal
W – Carver Gilman 47-yard field goal
P – Ryker Wenderoth 15-yard pass from Kelley (kick failed)
W – Forrest Kobelt 1-yard run (Gilman kick)