BOZEMAN — To the victors go the spoils, and that includes the top slot in the initial high school football rankings for the season.

Four of the five No. 1s are defending state champions and have earned the right to remain there until somebody knocks them off.

The borderline lone exception is in Class A, where Laurel is the defending champion but Hamilton — which spent most of last season at No. 1 – was overpowering in its season-opening 46-8 win over Corvallis and has the horses to run the table.

Laurel also looked strong in a 47-0 romp over overmatched Livingston and nips at the Broncs' bucking heels at No. 2. If there was a statement win, though, the honor might go to No. 5 Whitefish, which won 28-26 at perennial power Dillon.

In Class AA, Missoula Sentinel certainly earned retention of its top slot after winning an epic rematch of last year’s title game 22-19 over Billings West. At the same time, the Golden Bears showed they deserve No. 2 by going on the road and losing a game that could have gone the other way.

Is it too early to fantasize about a November rematch? 

Meanwhile, don't sleep on Helena, which ground out a 22-0 win over a Great Falls team with high expectations and could easily be ranked fourth or fifth.

Defending champ Manhattan gets the nod in Class B, which has yet to reveal much of itself given that only a half-dozen games were played last weekend. Looking for a head-turner? Check out No. 5 Shepherd’s two-touchdown win over Glasgow and No. 10 Three Forks’ 43-6 trouncing of Roundup — the Wolves’ first home win in four years.

After one week, 8-Man could be setting up to be the deepest of the state’s five classes. Drummond-Philipsburg resides in a familiar perch at No. 1 and both No. 2 Fort Benton and No. 3 Joliet look like serious contenders. Perhaps the two most impressive performances were Joliet rallying from a 14-0 halftime deficit to throttle No. 10 Shelby 36-22 and Culbertson coming out of nowhere to win at traditional power Fairview 48-14 for its first triumph over the Warriors in a decade.

In 6-Man, Froid-Medicine Lake retains No. 1 after crushing a solid Roy-Winifred outfit 49-13. Defending runner-up White Sulphur Springs also holds its spot after a noteworthy two-touchdown win over No. 10 Big Sandy.

Keep an eye on No. 5 Broadview-Lavina, which overwhelmed 2018 state champion Wibaux 42-0, and DGS-GRW, which whipped 2019 champ Jordan 50-25 and proved that five schools are better than one, or two, or even three.

The rankings:

Class AA

1. Missoula Sentinel (1-0)

2. Billings West (0-1) 

3. Helena (1-0)

4. Kalispell Glacier (1-0)

5. Billings Senior (1-0)

Class A

1. Hamilton (1-0)

2. Laurel (1-0)

3. Miles City (1-0)

4. Billings Central (0-0)

5. Whitefish (1-0)

Class B

1. Manhattan (0-0)

2. Florence-Carlton (0-0) 

3. Fairfield (0-0)

4. Townsend (0-0)

5. Shepherd (1-0)

6. Bigfork (0-0)

7. Eureka (1-0)

8. Huntley Project (1-0)

9. Columbus (0-0)

10. Three Forks (1-0)


1. Drummond-Philipsburg (1-0)

2. Fort Benton (1-0)

3. Joliet (1-0)

4. Scobey (1-0)

5. Thompson Falls (1-0)

6. Culbertson (1-0)

7. Alberton-Superior (1-0)

8. Belt (1-0)

9. Twin Bridges (1-0)

10. Shelby (0-1)


1. Froid-Lake (1-0)

2. White Sulphur Springs (1-0)

3. Hot Springs (1-0)

4. Power-Dutton-Brady (1-0)

5. Broadview-Lavina (1-0)

6. Bridger (1-0) 

7. Richey-Lambert (1-0) 

8. Shields Valley (1-0)

9. DGS-GRW (1-0) 

10. Big Sandy (0-1) 



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