GILBERT - Gilbert crushed Great Falls for a second consecutive time in a season opener, rolling the Red Devils 27-6 on Friday.
The Indians' defense bottled up every Great Falls possession, and when the Devils (0-1) continued to pile up penalty after broken play after wasted opportunity, the night quickly slipped away.
"We had all the opportunities we wanted," Great Falls coach Kenny Schofield said. "They're a very good ball club. Their numbers just killed us, and that's going to happen some when you have a team like ours."
The Class A Devils were walloped 41-20 by the Class 2A Indians last year and were hoping for a better showing. That hope was dented early when Great Falls was penalized five times in the game's first five minutes.
The Indians (1-0) quickly turned the gaffes into points, turning a Great Falls red-zone fumble into a two-play touchdown drive. From there, Gilbert's defense smashed the Devils every time they touched the ball, forcing six fumbles and recovering two.
"First-game jitters," a subdued Walter Lamar said. "We started out ready, but those early penalties killed us."
Great Falls' only offensive highlight was a razzle-dazzle kickoff return in the fourth quarter, with Terrell Hutchinson taking a pitch and galloping 82 yards for a touchdown. The Devils went for two, got it, had it overturned by yet another penalty, decided to kick and had it blocked to finish the night.
Gilbert had no such problems. The Indians had a 100-yard passer (Connor Owings) and rusher (Clark Mathias) and were up 21-0 by halftime. The Devils had another touchdown called back by an illegal procedure flag and trudged quietly out of the stadium.
G -- Clark Mathias 3 run (Chris Sox kick)
G -- Dylan Skinner 4 pass from Connor Owings (Sox kick)
G -- Matt Stegall 9 pass from Owings (Sox kick)
G -- Mark Ligons 11 run (kick failed)
GF -- Terrell Hutchinson 82 kick return (kick blocked)
Great Falls: Shaq Lamar 6-6, Isaiah Lynn 5-15, Walter Lamar 6-19, Zach Barber 4-6, Ernest Talford 1-8.
Gilbert: Mark Ligons 11-34, Clark Mathias 24-110, Connor Owings 7-23, Demetrius Haltiwanger 1-10.
Great Falls: S. Lamar 3-9-50-0. Gilbert: Owings 13-24-148-2.
Great Falls: Terrell Hutchinson 2-54, Xavier Holmes 1-(-4).
Gilbert: Johnny Bowers 5-57, Dylan Skinner 5-56, Joe Greico 1-11, Matt
Stegall 1-13, Michael Robinson 1-11.
Records -- Gilbert 1-0; Great Falls 0-1.