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Red Devil redemption

Noxon finishes State C playoff season in Grass Range

 

November 2, 2017



The Noxon Red Devils may have lost their football playoff game with Grass Range-Winnett but, make no mistake about it, coach Bart Haflich and his Red Devils have now arrived as a football team.

Coming back from a brutal 0-4 start to the season that involved hellacious road trips to faraway locales like West Yellowstone and White Sulphur Springs, the Devils regrouped at mid-season and made a mad rush to qualify for the 6-Man playoffs. The Devils won their final four games of the season on the field and added in a forfeit victory to finish the regular season on a five-game win streak.

In Noxon’s first playoff appearance since 1999, when still playing 8-Man football, the Devils went down to Grass Range and fell 50-12 to the Grass Range-Winnett Rangers in the first round of the 6-Man playoffs Saturday.

Haflich was slightly disappointed with the result in Grass Range (“We didn’t finish the season the way we would like,” he said) but not with the season as a whole (“It’s hard to be too disappointed after the season we had and the way we came on at the end”).

Haflich said Grass Range jumped out to a big lead early over his Devils, perhaps due to the fact that the Noxon boys felt slightly out of sorts, being in the playoffs like they were for the first time in such a long time.

But the Devils almost overcame those big game jitters, scoring two touchdowns after falling behind 29-0 to close within striking distance at 29-12 late in the first half. Unfortunately for the West End boys, the Rangers scored two quick TDs before halftime to pretty much settle the outcome then and there.

“Mental errors hurt us at that point, we gave up 15 points in the final 52 seconds of the half,” Haflich said. “We couldn’t afford to do that after clawing our way back into the game like we did.”

Rylan Weltz and Levi Brubaker scored Noxon’s touchdowns in Grass Range on runs of two and four yards.

Zane Stahl was the star of the game for the Rangers, scoring two touchdowns rushing, two more off of pass receptions and another on an interception return.

Though the playoff loss hurt, it was a playoff game for Noxon and the Red Devils can carry that achievement with them into next season.

“I have to take my hat off to our seniors this year,” Haflich said. “They planted a flag, set a new standard for Noxon football. Now it’s up to our underclassmen to pick up that flag and see how much farther they can get with it next year.”

 

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