BILLINGS – With Week 7 of the high school football season in the books, here is a look at five of the best storylines from the weekend.
Class AA: Bozeman weathers top five showdown
In a battle of teams with a combined one loss, the Bozeman Hawks remained undefeated.
Unbeaten and top-ranked Bozeman defeated No. 3 Helena 42-22 on Friday night to improve to 7-0. The Hawks took one step closer to locking up home field advantage in the Class AA playoffs.
The Hawks are beginning life without star running back Joe Olson for the foreseeable future. Olson broke his arm on the first play from scrimmage in Bozeman’s win over Kalispell Flathead last week. Head coach Levi Wesche said he expects the injury to take about four to six weeks to heal, so if Bozeman makes a deep playoff run, Olson could return.
McCade O’Reilly took over the starting running back job and went down with an injury according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He returned to play only linebacker. William Leep took over at running back and scored two rushing touchdowns and caught another while quarterback Kris Brown threw a touchdown pass to Ryan Simpson and ran for another. Simpson also took a 98-yard interception back for a touchdown.
Bozeman ends its regular season on the road for three games, taking on Missoula Big Sky (2-5), Great Falls (4-3) and Billings Skyview (0-7).
Class A: Dillon hands Frenchtown first loss
And then there were two.
Dillon handed Frenchtown its first loss of the year 18-14. Both teams scored all of their points in the first half as Dillon received rushing touchdowns from Peter Gibson, Jace Fitzgerald and Justus Peterson.
The Beavers improved to 5-1 while Frenchtown, ranked fourth in the most recent 406mtsports.com high school football rankings, is 6-1.
Only No. 1 Hamilton (7-0) and No. 2 Billings Central (7-0) are the only unbeaten teams in Class A. Hamilton defeated Butte Central 54-21 while Central topped Havre 49-0. The Rams have four shutouts this year and have only allowed a total of 28 points on defense this year. They are scoring at a rate of about 46 points per game. Hamilton is averaging just over 47 points per game.
Class B: Showdown out west
A Top 10 clash between Eureka and Florence did not disappoint Friday night, and the Lions squeaked by with a 29-27 victory to improve to 5-2.
After dropping a pair of games to Bigfork and Missoula Loyola, No. 8 Eureka, the defending two-time Class B champs, have won two straight since. No. 7 Florence falls to 5-2 as well.
The Class B West is a bit of a meat-grinder this year, led by top-ranked Bigfork. The Vikings almost dropped their first game of the year on Friday night but held on to beat Townsend 21-14. Loyola also improved to 6-1 with a win over Anaconda.
8-Man: Bring on the points
In the 8-Man ranks highest scoring performance of the year, Alberton-Superior defeated Seeley-Swan 94-50 on Friday night.
The No. 9 Mountain Cats (5-2) bounced back in a big way after a tough 66-58 loss to Charlo from a week ago. After only scoring 16 points in its opening game against Drummond-Philipsburg, Alberton-Superior hasn’t scored less than 54 points since and even dropped 82 against Darby.
With games against Plains and Arlee left to end the season, Alberton-Superior will need to keep up scoring at that rate to grab one of those final 8-Man West playoff spots and stay hot heading into the postseason.
6-Man: Jordan makes a splash
The No. 10 Jordan Mustangs have shown flashes all season long of what they could accomplish. They just needed a season-defining moment.
On Friday night, they got just that.
Jordan defeated No. 5 and defending 6-Man champ Westby-Grenora 38-32 to hand the Thunder their second loss of the year. Keenan Murnion threw for three touchdowns, ran for two more and scooped up a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the win. Keenan Murnion threw two touchdown passes to Edward Murnion and another to Cole Murnion. The Mustangs, playing in the rugged 6-Man East, improved to 5-2.
Also around 6-Man, despite having to deal with its third forfeit of the year, Bridger found a replacement road game with Valier, and went on to win 90-51, pouring on the highest point total in the 6-Man ranks. Unranked Big Sandy also came away with a big 66-31 win over No. 9 Denton-Geyser-Stanford.
Extra point: What to watch for
Missoula Sentinel (4-3) will visit Billings West (6-1) while Helena Capital (3-4) hosts Kalispell Glacier (2-5). The Wolfpack came away with a big win over Great Falls 42-38 and could be gaining momentum towards a late playoff push.
Class A is the host to numerous good contests. Corvallis (4-3) visits Dillon (5-1), Frenchtown (6-1) will take on Hamilton (7-0), Lewistown (6-1) will take on Billings Central (7-0), Whitefish (5-2) will play Columbia Falls (5-1) and Sidney (3-4) takes on Miles City (4-3).
In Class B, Bigfork (6-0) will take on Missoula Loyola (6-1) in a big Class B West match. Manhattan (3-3) visits Three Forks (4-3) while Colstrip (6-1) takes on Big Timber (6-0).
In 8-Man, Culbertson (6-1) and Circle (6-1) clash.
At the 6-Man level, top-ranked Wibaux (6-0) hosts Richey-Lambert (6-1) in a top five showdown. Valley Christian (4-3) will take on Hot Springs (7-1), Geraldine-Highwood hosts Denton-Geyser-Stanford and Noxon (4-2) clashes with West Yellowstone (6-1).