At Darby, the visiting Bulldogs and the host Tigers traded initial scoring drives before Mission cobbled together a one possession advantage as the first frame drew to a close.
But thereafter, the Bulldog offense got on track with a trio of rushing touchdowns from Isaac Dumontier, Layne Spidel and Troy Matt, supplemented by a Kolten Gardipee interception return as Mission built a three-dozen point cushion by intermission.
A Bryce Umphrey TD reception as well as conversion catch would cap Bulldog scoring.
Darby managed to carve into the deficit over the course of the second half. The Tigers even kept Mission out of the end zone with an interception at the start of the final frame. But their valiant efforts were unable to carve any further into the Mission margin as the Bulldogs secured their eighth win of the season.
Defensive highlights included a Troy Matt interception in the first frame, a fumble recovery by Layne Spidel early in the second quarter that set up Missions third TD, a Charley Adams interception within a few minutes later and a Jedi Christy fumble recovery with under a minute remaining before halftime.
Mission and Thompson Falls culminated the season with identical 8-1 records, resulting in the application of tiebreaking criteria to determine seeding.
The Thompson Falls Bluehawks scored 25 more points against conference opponents than Mission, but the Bulldog defense held opponents to 26 points less than the Bluehawks.
But both teams shared their lone loss to the common opponent, the undefeated league leading Clark Fork Mountain Cats. Mission dropped their early schedule contest 54-32 by 22 points, whereas T-Falls lost 56-38 by 16 points. The differential would relegate Mission to third-seed status, resulting in them traveling to Park City (7-1) this coming Saturday, Nov. 2, to face the Panthers.
Mission 50, Darby 26
Mission (7-1w, 8-1), Darby (4-4)
Mission 14 28 8 0 50
Darby 6 0 6 14 26
D Nelson Smith 1 run (pass failed)
MSI Bryce Umphrey 5 pass from Kellyn McClure (run failed)
MSI Charley Adams 22 pass from Kellyn McClure (Troy Matt run)
MSI Isaac Dumontier 3 run (Layne Spidel pass from McClure)
MSI Kolten Gardipee 10 INT return (run failed)
MSI L.Spidel 22 run (L.Spidel run)
MSI T.Matt 78 run (pass incomplete)
D N.Smith 2 run (pass failed)
MSI B.Umphrey 22 pass from Dumontier (Umphrey pass from Dumontier)*
D Sam Stewart 1 run (pass failed)
D Jordan Anderson 25 pass from N.Smith (Anderson pass from Nelson)
RUSH MSI 21-194 (T.Matt 7-127, Dumontier 10-45, L.Spidel 4-22), D ( ). PASS MSI 9-18-133-2 (McClure 5-11-36-1, Dumontier 4-7-97-1), D (). REC MSI 9-133 (B.Umphrey 3-76, Ch.Adams 2-44, Jedi Christy 3-8, John Komotios 1-6), D
INT MSI (T.Matt 1-8, Ch.Adams 1-14, Gardipee 1-10), D (Christian Humphrey). PD Canyon Sargent 2, Joe Stults 2. FF L.Spidel. FR (L.Spidel 1-5, Jedi Christy 1-20), D (4th qtr). SK L.Spidel 1½, Miles Anderson 1, Hayden Currie ½. TFL L.Spidel 1½, Miles Anderson 1, Hayden Currie ½. TKL/AST MSI 28t20a L.Spidel 5t4a, B.Umphrey 5t, J.Stults 4t1a, Dumontier 3t1a, Miles Anderson 1t5a, T.Matt 2t1a, K.Gardipee 2t1a, Trance Bird 2t, C.Sargent 1t1a, Dustin Mitchell 1t1a, J.Christy 3a, Ch.Adams 1t, Bridger Hames 1t, Hayden Currie 1a, Derrick Gibbs 1a. (Fr25Oct19)
(1W) Clark Fork (9-0) vs (5N) Shelby (5-3) Coyotes
(2W) T-Falls (8-1) vs (3S) Twin Bridges (3-5) Falcons
(3W) Mission (8-1) at (2S) Park City (7-1) Panthers
(4W) Flint Creek (6-3) at (1S) West Yellowstone (9-0) Wolverines
other matchups can be viewed online at montanasports.com or mhsa.org.