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Late score lifts Devils over Jackets

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By Chance Bowers

GREAT FALLS – The Great Falls Red Devils hosted the Buford Yellow Jackets in a Region III-A football game which kept the crowd guessing up until the game’s final moments.Great Falls, snapping a 14-all stalemate, scored the winning touchdown with 5:43 to play as Red Devils’ running back A.J. Squirewell tallied on a three-yard run.On Buford’s final drive, the Jackets were stuffed by the Red Devils, and then gave up the ball with a Daon Rice interception with 28 seconds to play to seal the 20-14 victory.The 10th-ranked Red Devils were plagued with turnovers and penalties, but were able to come out on top of the gutsy Yellow Jackets in the nail-biter.Great Falls took the lead in the opening quarter off a counter-trap 15-yard run from Red Devils’ senior quarterback Gaither Bumgardner. The Red Devils were unsuccessful on their two-point conversion and held a 6-0 lead.The Red Devils extended their lead with an impressive rushing attack that was capped off with a four-yard touchdown reception by fullback Stevo Squirewell from Bumgardner. The Devils’ two-point conversion on a Bumgardner run was good, leaving GFHS up 14-0 with 2:49 left in the half.Buford, 2-4, answered with the final points of the half scoring off a well-executed short screen pass from Jackets’ senior quarterback Will Ford to wide receiver Anthony Williams. The pass play resulted in a 72-yard touchdown pass to shave the Red Devils’ lead to 14-6 after the two-point conversion failed.A scoreless third quarter ended with a costly fumble from the Red Devils which was recovered by Buford linebacker Jesse James.On the following drive, Buford tied the game with a one-yard run from Jackets’ senior workhorse fullback Brent McAteer, who netted 61 yards in 16 carries. Chris Jacobs’ two-point conversion run deadlocked the game at 14-all. BHS linebacker Britt Well’s 55-yard interception return to the GFHS one set up McAteer’s one-yard blast.Great Falls answered with Squirwell’s three-yard touchdown run, but the extra point was no good.On Buford’s final threat, the Red Devils’ interception snuffed BHS’s victory hopes.Great Falls High School head coach Ken Schofield said he felt it wasn’t a pretty win, but a good win.“We had some turnovers that hurt us, but our running game had great success which led to the win,” Schofield said.Buford High head coach Mike Wells said he knew his team had the breaks that could have helped the Jackets gain the victory, but the offense wasn’t consistent enough.“We had big plays that kept us in it, like the interception from Britt Wells that put us in scoring position,” Wells said. “Our offensive line had spurts where they looked really good, but at times we were overloaded on blitzes that led to big losses we couldn’t recover from.“We played hard against a good football team,” Wells said. “This has been a tough stretch of games for us, but we have to regroup, keep working and focus on the games ahead. We still have a good bit of football to be played this season.”Buford will be at home Friday when the Jackets host North Central.The Knights dropped a league loss to McBee, falling 62-16 to the Panthers.