In the midst of a pandemic that is bringing so much heartbreak, so much stress, and deferring so many dreams, it's a wonder to see our high school athletes making lifelong memories for themselves and their families.
It didn't happen without a lot of extra hard work, sacrifice and difficulty.
To everyone who has had a hand in Montana's high school football and volleyball seasons — coaches, athletic directors, teachers, school administrators, county health officials, parents and the athletes themselves — we offer our gratitude and congratulations.
If you want to know how important this season was to so many Montanans, start by asking the athletes and parents in Froid-Medicine Lake, where the 6-man football team won its first-ever state championship last weekend.
Or just down the road to Laurel, where the Locomotives ran over Billings Central to take their first Class A championship in 18 years. Congratulations to both teams!
This weekend, three more champions will be crowned. In AA, Billings West takes on Missoula Sentinel in the championship game. Fairfield will play Manhattan in the Class B championship and Drummond-Philipsburg will meet Scobey to decide things in 8-man football.
On the volleyball front, there was plenty of drama as well. Congratulations to Class A champ Billings Central, which won its third title in the past four years; and to Joliet, which won its first championship ever in the climax to its classic duel with Huntley Project. Earlier in the year, Joliet snapped the Red Devils' 101-match win streak and, with the title-match win, won the season series five matches to four — accounting for the only losses Huntley Project suffered all year. The win broke the Red Devils' three-year stranglehold on the Class B title. And perennial Class C powerhouse Bridger brought home its 11th state crown.
Tears shed, goals achieved, lessons in sportsmanship and hard work learned.
We are in awe of all the effort made to let these momentous seasons play out safely. Certainly we congratulate both the athletes who made it to the pinnacle, and to all the rest who worked so hard under such challenging conditions to compete this year.
— The Billings Gazette
The Billings Gazette Editorial Board includes President and Publisher Dave Worstell, Regional Editor David McCumber, and Chief Photographer Larry Mayer.