Pirates fall short

Pirates season comes to an end

by Brandon Hansen of the Lake County Leader

In a classic slugfest between two virtually even-matched teams, the fourth-ranked Custer County Cowboys knocked out the previously-undefeated, fifth-ranked Polson Pirates 7-6 in Polson on Saturday afternoon.

The defenses from both sides reigned supreme throughout, with the Pirate D forcing punt after punt, while the Cowboys were able to force turnovers from Polson’s offense.

Quarterback Vince DiGiallonardo put Polson on the board toward the end of the first quarter, scoring on an 8-yard touchdown run, but after a penalty, the extra point was no good, giving the Pirates a 6-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Custer County went 80 yards for a touchdown and, after the deciding extra point, led 7-6.

Nobody in Polson figured those would be the final points of the game, but had they known how the defenses would play, might have thought differently.

At the end of the second quarter, with the Cowboys driving, Pirate defensive lineman Eric Williamson recovered a fumble, allowing Polson to head to the locker room down only one.

Pirate drive after Pirate drive would head into Custer County territory, but they couldn’t regain the lead. DiGiallonardo lost a fumble with 2:25 left in the third quarter before Polson had their best opportunity of the game. After a series of good runs by Paul McClurg, the Pirates had a goal-to-go situation, but a 23-yard field goal missed wide right with 4:55 left.

It wasn’t Polson’s last chance. The defense allowed a pair of first downs on Custer County’s next possession, but got the stop when they needed to, giving the ball back to the offense at midfield with 1:48 left.

A pass interference call got the Pirates to the Cowboy 35 before DiGiallonardo hit Will Davey for 18 yards to get the ball into the red zone and close to field goal range. DiGiallonardo then scampered for three yards before fumbling, but the ball was recovered by Polson. Justin Hoel then reeled in an 8-yard grab from DiGiallonardo with under a minute left to give the Pirates the ball on the 6 with a half a minute to go.

DiGiallonardo tried to hit Davey for the game-winning touchdown, but the Cowboys were able to intercept the pass, ending the game and Polson’s season.