BILLINGS – With Week 10 of the high school football season in the books, here is a look at some of the top storylines from over the weekend.
With four of the five Montana high school football classifications beginning playoffs this week, some big upsets were bound to happen, right?
Well, not so much. In fact, the beginning to the 2017 playoffs went almost according to plan if we base it off of each team’s seeding and the results.
So through Friday up until Saturday night, no real upset had occurred in any classification.
Then, Glendive happened.
The Red Devils, the No. 6 seed in Class A’s Eastern Division, visited Laurel Saturday night in the last game of the opening weekend, with kickoff taking place at 7 p.m. Glendive provided the upset everybody was waiting for with a 28-20 victory over the third-seeded Locomotives.
Nelson Crisafulli ran for a pair of touchdowns while quarterback Cade Dockter rushed for another and found Robby Keiser for a passing score as the Red Devils (5-5) racked up over 300 yards rushing to grab the upset win. Emotions were high as the players and fans were visibly overjoyed with the upset, saying being picked to lose set a fire under the team coming into the game. Players celebrated and posed for pictures with friends and family in Laurel’s parking lot long after the game had concluded.
Glendive’s road doesn’t get easier, as the team now must travel over 600 miles to take on Hamilton (8-1) in the quarterfinals.
In an opening playoff weekend ripe with expected wins, Glendive provided a reminder that anything is possible this time of year.
1’s versus 2’s
With eight teams remaining in each classification, Class B, 8-Man and 6-Man will play host to 11 combined games where a No. 1 seed will clash with a No. 2 next weekend.
The lone game that does not feature this scenario will be 8-Man South No. 1 Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap (9-1) hosting 8-Man East No. 3 Circle (8-2). The Wildcats had what could be considered the weekend’s other upset, defeating Centerville (6-3) on the road 68-14, though, both teams only sported two losses coming into the game.
Every other game featured the higher seed winning their opening games. Safe to say, they are who we thought they were.
Home sweet home
Of the 28 playoff games over the weekend, 25 were won by the home team.
As mentioned earlier, Glendive and Circle came away with big road wins. They were joined by Frenchtown, which defeated Browning 27-0 on Saturday night in Browning. Frenchtown was a Western Division wild-card team while Browning was the No. 2 seed coming from the Northwest A.
Other than those three games, home was the place to be as Dillon (8-1) defeated Butte Central (5-4) 53-13, and Miles City (8-2) topped Lewistown (5-5) 42-26 in Class A rematches. All eight Class B home teams won by an average of 20 points, the seven 8-Man teams won by about 37 points per game and all eight 6-Man hosts were victorious by about 34 points a game.
Oh so close
Though there was not many upsets in the weekend that does not mean there were not any close calls.
A pair of Class B East teams tried to play spoiler in the opening rounds. Upstarts Shepherd and Roundup took on the top two teams from the Class B South, and both came up just short with one-possession losses. Top-seeded Whitehall (10-0) held off the Mustangs (4-5), 26-18, while Manhattan (7-2) topped Roundup (5-5), 33-28.
In addition, a late field goal lifted Shelby (6-3) past Bigfork (6-2) 23-20.
The biggest shocker almost came at the 6-Man level, as 6-Man East No. 4 seed Jordan (5-5) nearly came away with the upset of 6-Man North top-seed Valier (9-0). The Panthers prevailed 61-59, but Jordan led 53-47 going into the fourth quarter. A pair of late touchdowns gave Valier the lead. Jordan, however, scored the final touchdown, but Dylan Monroe blocked the game-tying field goal as Valier stayed perfect and held onto the win. Wibaux (9-1) also held onto a close game with Geraldine-Highwood (6-3), winning 51-45.
Please welcome the AA
This week, we are officially in full postseason mode.
The Class AA wrapped up its regular last week, and is now trimmed down to eight teams vying for a state championship.
The AA will get its postseason started this week, and features a similar cast of characters as a year ago. Seven of the eight teams were in the playoffs last year, with the Kalispell schools swapping positions for the new guy on the block. After missing last year, Flathead (6-3) resurfaces as the No. 4 seed and will host Helena Capital (6-4) after upsetting Helena on the road last week. Kalispell Glacier (4-5), last year’s runner-up, just missed the cut of postseason teams.
Billings Senior (10-0) enters as the No. 1 seed for the second year in a row, and the defending champion Broncs will open against Bozeman (5-5), which snuck into the postseason as the No. 8 seed. The Hawks won their first three games, lost their next five before winning two in a row to close the season and secure a postseason berth.
Missoula Big Sky (8-2) enters as the No. 2 seed, and will host crosstown rival Missoula Sentinel (5-4) in the first round. Helena (7-2) will also host a playoff game as the No. 3 seed and will welcome Billings West (6-4) to town. All four games will be played on Friday at 7 p.m.
Eight teams in each class remain standing.
In three weeks, there will only be one.