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BILLINGS — Between Isaiah Claunch and the Dowler twins, Taco and Caden, the front seat of the Billings West scoring bus gets awfully crowded.

Which is OK by Michael DeLeon. He’s more than happy to take a back seat. In fact, ask him about his contributions to the Golden Bears, and the senior running back slides even further back to make room for others.

DeLeon rushed for 113 yards Friday night in the No. 2 Bears’ 35-3 win over Bozeman at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium. He entered the night needing just 14 yards to gain 1,000 on the season, so the night’s effort left him at 1,099.

“That number just means how well the (offensive) line is blocking,” DeLeon said. “It doesn’t really mean anything to me. It’s cool to have so many yards, but it’s more about our line and how they are doing … it shows their accomplishment.”

To his point, the Bears picked up 210 yards on the ground. Claunch passed for another 202 yards, giving the Bears 412 overall in a game they dominated after Bozeman took the opening possession 65 yards on 12 plays before settling for a Rocky Lencioni 32-yard field goal.

Lencioni tried to squib the ensuing kick, and after a couple bounces, Taco Dowler tipped the ball basically to himself and returned it 79 yards to give West the lead for good.

Claunch’s first pass of the game was intercepted but his second went for a 77-yard score to Caden Dowler. By game’s end, Claunch rushed for another 3-yard score, Caden Dowler added a 2-yard run on a direct snap and DeLeon found paydirt of his own from 15 yards.

West had to punt just one time in a game that decided the Eastern AA championship. West won its eighth straight, improving to 7-0 in the league and 8-1 overall.

“It’s always good to have a conference championship and to beat a rival we’ve had for many years,” West coach Rob Stanton said. “I thought the kids played pretty physical that first half.”

Bozeman (5-4, 5-2) already had second place wrapped up, so even with the loss the Hawks will join the Bears with a first-round bye in the playoffs, which begin next week.

“We struggled, I felt, on both sides of the line of scrimmage for the first time really all year long,” Hawks head coach Levi Wesche said. “We got pushed around a little bit, but I put a lot of that on me. I don’t know if I had them as well-prepared to play as I normally do.”

A concern for Bozeman is the loss of running back Jase Applebee, who received an apparent shoulder injury on the fourth play of the game and didn’t return. Wesche didn’t know after the game the status of Applebee, who came into the night with 931 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

“We’re going to find out more (Saturday),” Wesche said of Applebee’s injury. “I would say it’s doubtful right now for playoffs.”

Brady Casagranda, one of the Hawks’ better defenders who also carried a big load on the ground in Applebee’s absence, also limped off the field late in the game.

“The kids worked hard for a bye week,” Wesche said. “Thank God, we’re going to need it a bit and get some kids healthy and fix some things. Obviously, we wish we would have competed a little better, but I thought our kids played really, really hard.”

Max Murphy had 14 tackles for West, including 12 unassisted and 5.5 for loss. Luke Tallman had a big night defensively, as well, getting in on seven tackles.

“Defensively, we played really well,” Stanton said. “Max Murphy, he’s just so dang physical and he brings it every play and that’s what he did. He was pretty good for us tonight.”

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