Four times the Missoula Sentinel football team kicked off in Friday’s victory over Billings Skyview. Three times the ball sailed into the end zone.
That other boot? Well Skyview fielded that one from the 1-yard line. The Falcons made it all the way the 24 to start that possession.
Gabe Peppenger didn’t stop the run and he didn’t score any touchdowns Friday, but he certainly played a big role in the Spartans earning their first win of the season.
“Gabe’s one of our best weapons offensively — and defensively,” Sentinel head football coach Oliver said. “Boy, he can make it tough when they’re having to go 80 yards every time.”
In a close game, Peppenger’s leg made the 100-yard field at Washington-Grizzly Stadium seem as vast as the 350-mile stretch of highway between Missoula and Billings. Sentinel’s suddenly stout defense didn’t hurt either.
Peppenger also booted three extra points to run his total to 10 for 10 on the season, and he got a shot at a long field goal under the lights of the Grizzlies’ stadium.
The 46-yard try missed wide left by a few feet, but it landed in the south end zone stands at Wa-Griz. A few degrees to the right and the thing would have been good from at least 50 yards.
“Gabe’s got a big leg; I believe he’s a Division I kicker,” Oliver said. “If the ball’s inside the 35, we’re gonna kick a field goal.”
Sentinel didn’t need him to Friday, though. Each time the Spartans entered the red zone they punched it in for a touchdown.
And from the looks of it, Peppenger’s blasted extra points probably had a shot to go in from 50, too.
Hmmm, I hear the Grizzlies are looking for somebody to handle kicking duties these days…