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Dan Sturdevant

It was a happy week at Jefferson High School as football and volleyball teams got in games. The football team traveled to Whitehall last Friday night to play a game that was put together between the two schools to get the kids on the field, as this was a non-counter for both teams. Due to the COVID-19 problem that is still raging, the non-conference fall games were canceled, leaving both schools in Jefferson County with no games in the first two weeks of the year. It was good to get both teams on the field. A hot afternoon turned very nice after the sun went down, and as of that very day, the Jefferson County Health Board approved a limited number of fans who could go watch the games. Good news for the parents and players.

The Panthers won the coin flip and elected to defer to Whitehall. It was easy to see that it was the first game of the year for both teams. It took some time to get settled in to being on the field playing instead of practicing, as both teams had been doing for a few weeks. 

Whitehall returned the opening kickoff to their 32 yard line, and the Panther defense did its job, and faced with 4th and 27, the Trojans punted the ball. The Panther offense started on their own 38 yard line, moved to the Trojan 30 on a run by Braden Morris. Then, on the 4th and 2, the Panthers made it to the Whitehall 22. That was as close as they would get, on 4th and 9 a pass attempt failed and Whitehall took over on their own 19. 

Both teams struggled the rest of the first quarter and it ended with no score. Whitehall put the first points on the scoreboard with 10:18 left in the half on a pass that went into a Panthers hands and into a Trojans’ hands, and who took it into the end zone, PAT no good, for a score of 0-6. The Panthers tied the score at 6 with 4:52 left in the third.  A nice run by Riley Stock put the Panthers on the 41 and the Panthers capped it off with a short touchdown by Braden Morris with 4:52 left in the third, PAT no good, for a tie score of 6-6. Whitehall added a touchdown with 3:54 left in the third and were able to score again in the fourth, for an 18-6 win over the Panthers.

This week the Panthers travel to Columbus on Friday night for their first conference counter of the year, and kickoff is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Two family members of the Panthers who are suited up to play will be allowed in Columbus. Visitors will enter in a separate gate than the Columbus fans, Portable toilets will be available on the visitors side, no concessions and fans will not be allowed to go on or across the field.

The JV football game between Jefferson and Townsend that was scheduled for Tuesday night was canceled as Townsend did not have enough players. The JV team will host Columbus on Monday, Sept. 14, at 4 p.m. Homecoming for the football team is Friday, Sept. 18 when they host Sweet Grass County.

Volleyball also played their first matches of the season, with Three Forks at Jefferson High on Saturday. The C Panthers team won in three sets, the JV Panthers followed with a win in three sets and the varsity Panthers made it a clean sweep by winning in three 25-11, 25-10, 25-14. 

In the first varsity match, Dakota Edmisten powered over two straight kills to give the Panthers a 6-1 lead, and went to 10-1 before the Wolves could take the serve back. 

Rachel Van Blaricom put down a kill to give the Panthers a 17-7 lead, Hope Dobyns followed with a kill to make it 18-8 and the Panthers went on to win 25-11. The second saw the Panthers go up 5-0 on a Hope Dobyns kill, an ace by Grace Alexander made it 9-3 and the Panthers went on to post the win, 25-10. 

An ace by Maddie Leiva gave the Panthers a 5-1 lead in the third. A huge get down low dig by Alexander kept the ball alive that resulted in a 12-5 lead. Alexander fired over an ace to put the Panthers up 20-10 and they went on to win 25-14. Alexander ended up with 21 digs, 2 aces, 2 kills; Rachel Van Blaricom with 1 ace, 3 kills, 4 digs; Maddie Leiva with 1 ace, 1 block, 10 assists, 3 digs; Hope Dobyns with  2 kills, 2 blocks; Dakota Edmisiten with 9 kills, 4 digs; Sam Zody with 1 ace, 5 assists, 5 digs; Emma McCauley, 3 digs; Maddy Johnson, 2 digs; Abbie Youde, 1 kill, 1 dig; and Baylee Toney, 1 kill.

The volleyball teams go on the road on Thursday to Townsend; on Saturday they travel to Sweet Grass County; and Tuesday Sept. 15 they are at Whitehall. Homecoming for the volleyball girls is Thursday, Sept. 17th when they take on Manhattan.

The cross country teams will be at Three Forks on Friday Sept. 12, with a start time at 9:30 am. They will travel to Red Lodge on Saturday, Sept. 19, 10:30 a.m. start. The “hoofers” will host another meet on Saturday, Sept. 26 in Boulder.  The cross country team will be in West Yellowstone on Oct. 3, 10 a.m. start; in Townsend on Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. start. Currently the state cross country meet will be in Kalispell on Saturday, Oct. 24.

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