Cowboys even record with homecoming win over Belgrade

Tyler Burk and Gabe Gundlach made Homecoming 2016 a happy one for Custer County District High School students on Friday.

Burk, the Cowboys’ senior wide receiver, and Gundlach, the junior quarterback, had record-setting nights as Custer County stomped the Belgrade Panthers (2-1) 40-21 at home.

Cowboy head coach Jeff Regan said he was happy with the win.

“The kids played good. We played like we know we can,” said Regan. “I’m really happy for the kids and the rest of the coaches.”

Regan said he was happy with the team’s confidence and how they were focused and had fun playing the game.

Burk broke Class A and team records for touchdowns in a game with five. He also set the team record for receiving yards with 257. The Class A record for receiving yards is 290.

Gundlach reached a milestone with touchdown passes Friday, breaking a Custer High School record with 6.

The game started off well for the Cowboys, as the Panthers fumbled the initial kickoff. Jacob Swope recovered for the Cowboys.

A six-play Custer County drive ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Burk from junior quarterback Gabe Gundlach to put the Cowboys on the board 6-0.

The Cowboy defense did a good job throughout the game keeping the Belgrade offensive line and running back Hayden Van Winkle at bay.

“We have a lot of team speed in our defensive backs and linebackers,” said Regan. Swope, Zack Dinardi and Brooks Tally all played a strong, quick defensive game, with Dinardi shedding blockers that allowed Swope to blitz.

“They are playing fast, and going and making plays,” said Regan.

The Cowboys next drive ended with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Gundlach to Burk after a holding penalty. The run for the two-point conversion was good and the Cowboys were up 14-0.

Belgrade answered with a 77-yard scoring scamper by Jemal Williams to close the gap to 14-7.

The Cowboys continued with their strong passing game, with Gundlach lobbing a pass to Burk for 65 yards to get them into the Belgrade red zone as the first quarter wound down. Four seconds into the second quarter Burk caught a 10-yard scoring strike from Gundlach to put the Cowboys up 20-7.

After exchanging posessions, senior Jacob Morris ran for 38 yards and a helmet-to-helmet penalty gave him an additional 15 yards and put the Cowboys on the Belgrade 22-yard line. Two short runs by Morris were followed up by an 18-yard TD pass to Burk, 26-7 Cowboys.

The Panthers had a hard time controlling the ball on the next drive, fumbling with a Cowboy recovery. The Cowboys took advantage and scored on a 7-yard pass from Gundlach to Swope.

As the first half wrapped up Belgrade’s Easton Page caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from Williams to cut the Cowboy lead to 34-14.

“We did a real good job of taking care of the ball in the first half,” said Regan.

The third quarter started rocky for the Cowboys. Gundlach was picked off in a controversial call. But on the second play of the Panthers’ drive Cowboy Kip Krebsbach put himself in the perfect position to grab the ball from the Panther receiver.

The next play was a 45-yard touchdown catch by Burk, putting the Cowboys up 40-14.

Defense was key for the rest of the quarter, as neither team managed to score again in the third.

Belgrade scored the final points of the game early in the fourth quarter on a 27-yard touchdown pass.

The Cowboys ran the ball for the majority of the fourth to burn time off the clock. Morris did a solid job of finding holes and making short runs, while protecting the ball. He ended the game with 113 yards on 24 carries.