BILLINGS – With Week 6 of the high school football season in the books, here is a look at five of the best storylines from the weekend.
8-Man: No. 1’s take center stage
We blew them up all week long. Now, here is how the three marquee games in 8-Man football panned out over the weekend.
Beginning in the 8-Man East, No. 3 Fairview took care of No. 9 Culbertson 56-14 in the battle of the final remaining undefeated teams in the conference. Cody Asbeck ran for four touchdowns and caught another while Alex Schriver threw three scores, finding Carson Cayko for a pair for the Warriors (6-0). Easton Hopes also ran for a touchdown.
The 8-Man South saw a more compelling game between the top two conference teams as No. 5 Joliet held off No. 6 Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap 52-40 on Friday night. The J-Hawks led 38-20 at halftime but two Titan touchdowns in the third quarter made it 38-32 heading into the final frame. Joliet responded with two touchdowns in the fourth and was able to hang on. Ry Olson ran for five touchdowns and caught another, while Justin Harris added two scores for the J-Hawks (6-0).
In the 8-Man North B Sub-Division, No. 2 Shelby made quick work of No. 9 Centerville 50-0. The Coyotes (5-0) claimed the lead in their division. Once the regular season concludes, the top seeds from the A and B Sub-Divisions will play for the top two 8-Man North playoff seeds.
As of now, Shelby and Great Falls Central lead the 8-Man North Divisions while Joliet, Fairview and Drummond-Philipsburg all sit atop their respective conferences. There is still some regular season left to play, but the No. 1 seeds lock up home-field advantage through the first two games while the 8-Man South and North No. 1 teams are scheduled for home-field advantage in the semifinals, should they make it that far.
Class A: Land of blowouts
The Class A ranks have seen their fair share of routs this season, but this weekend almost every game got out of hand.
Of the 11 games played in Class A this weekend, only two games were not won by 30 points or more as No. 4 Frenchtown shut out Butte Central 14-0 and Dillon topped Stevensville 42-15.
Of the other nine games, the average margin of victory was almost 42 points. Columbia Falls had the largest point total and margin of victory, defeating Browning 78-20. Lewistown shut out Hardin 53-0, Miles City blanked Livingston 38-0, Libby beat Polson 62-20 and Billings Central defeated Belgrade 52-14. In fact, every team except Miles City in those nine games topped 40 points in their victories. Hamilton beat Corvallis 41-6, Laurel topped Glendive 45-6, Sidney beat Havre 40-3 and Whitefish defeated Ronan 43-7.
Class B: Even more blowouts
Similar to Class A, Class B also was full of games that were not close. In the 12 games in Class B, eight games were won by 30-plus points with the average margin of victory in those games 39 points. No. 3 Roundup (5-0) won the weekend in terms of points, defeating Harlem 64-12 and Huntley Project defeated Baker 55-16 in the only team games that cracked 50 points. After losing two straight, two-time defending champion Eureka got itself back in the win column with a 48-0 win over Anaconda.
The best game of the weekend went to Three Forks and Columbus. The Wolves upset the No. 7 Cougars 44-40.
Class AA: Good games galore
With each week that passes, the Class AA playoff picture looks like it will be a fun one.
Bozeman continues to lead the AA, defeating No. 4 Kalispell Flathead (4-2) 49-34 to improve to 6-0. No. 5 Helena (5-1) also walked away with an upset of No. 3 Great Falls (4-2) with a 47-21 victory.
After losing three straight games by three points or less, Missoula Sentinel (3-3) got back into the win column with a 35-28 victory over Kalispell Glacier (1-5). Billings Senior (4-2) held off Missoula Big Sky (2-4) 35-28 in overtime and for the first time since 2001, Missoula Hellgate (2-4) won back-to-back games as it defeated Billings Skyview (0-6) 41-27.
Four weeks remain. And with plenty of teams still in position to make some moves, expect this trend of games to continue.
6-Man: Welcome back
Denton-Geyser-Stanford won the 6-Man state championship in 2015, then jumped to 8-Man the following two seasons.
Numbers were an issue again though, with the Bearcats graduating a multitude of their team from a year ago. But they’re back at the 6-Man level, and things are going swell.
DGS, ranked No. 10 in the 6-Man rankings, defeated No. 9 White Sulphur Springs 37-12 on Saturday. DGS improved to 5-1, their lone loss coming in Week 1. Dylan Taylor threw four touchdowns in the win, three to Jake Solomon and one to Arik Ayers. Zack Solomon and Kyle Lee also ran for scores.
It's safe to say DGS is happy to be back in the 6-Man ranks.
Extra point: What to watch for
Undefeated Bozeman (6-0) will host another tough one on Friday night when it takes on No. 5 Helena (5-1). No. 2 Billings West (5-1) hits the road to play Helena Capital (3-3), while Missoula Sentinel (3-3) and Missoula Hellgate (2-4) face off in a crosstown game.
In Class A, Dillon (4-1) travels to take on No. 4 Frenchtown (6-0). Lewistown (5-1) heads to Belgrade (4-2) and Sidney (3-3) visits No. 5 Laurel (5-1).
No. 8 Florence (5-1) will take on No. 9 Eureka (4-2) in Class B, while Three Forks (4-2) will look to keep its upset streak going as it plays No. 4 Big Timber (5-0).
No. 4 Great Falls Central (6-0) will host Chinook (4-2), while Twin Bridges (3-3) will take on Park City (3-2) in 8-Man. In 6-Man, No. 2 Geraldine-Highwood (5-1) will host Sunburst (4-2), Jordan (4-2) entertains No. 5 Westby-Grenora (5-1), Valley Christian (4-2) takes on White Sulphur Springs (4-2) and Big Sandy (3-2) visits Denton-Geyser-Stanford (5-1).