BILLINGS – With Week 2 of the high school football season in the books, here is a look at five of the best storylines from the weekend.
Class AA: Helena’s revenge
Helena High had to wait nearly 9 1/2 months, but the Bengals got their revenge against Billings Senior.
Helena defeated top-ranked Senior 41-14 on Friday night, snapping the Broncs' 27-game winning streak dating back to the first game of the 2016 season. The Broncs defeated the Bengals in the 2017 state championship game last November.
Ty McGurran threw two touchdown passes to Zach Spiroff and ran for another. Grady Koenig and Logan Brown each added rushing touchdowns and Hayden Ferguson added a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown.
After scoring only 16 points in its opener against Great Falls CMR, Helena’s offense exploded in the matchup with the Broncs. Helena improved to 2-0 while Senior fell to 1-1. Senior’s win streak goes down as the second-longest in AA history behind Helena Capital’s 33 straight wins from 2007-2009.
Also in the AA, No. 2 Bozeman held off No. 4 Billings West 37-33 thanks to a touchdown connection between Kris Brown and McCade O’Reilly with 51 seconds left in the game to lift the Hawks. Don’t be surprised if these two teams meet down the road in the postseason.
Class B: And the longest winning streak in the state now belongs to…
With Senior’s loss, the Class B Eureka Lions now hold the distinction of longest football winning streak in the state regardless of classification. The two-time defending state champions improved their winning streak to 22 games with a 48-6 victory over Conrad on Friday night to improve to 2-0 on the year. Hank Dunn threw for three touchdowns, ran for two more and tallied a pick-six to lead the way for the Lions.
Eureka, ranked No. 1 once again to open the 406mtsports.com high school football rankings, last lost a game on Sept. 9, 2016 to Shelby. Since, the Lions won the 2016 state championship on a Hail Mary, went a perfect 11-0 in 2017 and have started hot in the 2018 campaign. Eureka defeated Cut Bank 40-7 to open the year.
Eureka is joined by only two other programs to have winning streaks longer than 10 games. Reigning 6-Man state champion Westby-Grenora currently owns a win streak of 15 after going 13-0 a year ago and starting 2-0 this year. Drummond-Philipsburg, last year’s 8-Man titlist, has 14 straight wins after going 12-0 last season and opening 2018 with two blowout victories.
Class A: We meet again
The matchup between Senior and Helena was not the only repeat of a title game over the weekend.
Hamilton visited Columbia Falls on Friday night, and like Helena, got revenge over its state title loss last year with a 35-24 win. Carson Rostad found Camron Rothie for four total touchdowns as the Broncs (2-0) overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat the Wildcats (0-1).
The game’s fireworks didn’t disappoint, and were expected, as both teams came into the season as the top two ranked teams in Class A with the Wildcats opening the season at No. 1 and Broncs No. 2. Some shifts are due to come when the new rankings come out on Monday, but keep an eye on both teams down the stretch, as both have the potential to make deep runs again.
In other Class A news, Billings Central head coach Jim Stanton earned his 200th career victory as a head coach over the weekend. Central, ranked No. 3 to begin the year, beat Sidney 40-0 to improve to 2-0 and earn Stanton the milestone. Stanton is in his 17th year as Central’s coach and has a 140-35 record with the Rams. He also spent nine years as the head coach at Huntley Project.
8-Man: Statement wins
In back-to-back weeks, Choteau opened the season with two tough 8-Man opponents.
And in both games, the Bulldogs weathered the storms and are 2-0.
One week after topping perennial power Ennis 34-28, Choteau hit the road to take on Chester-Joplin-Inverness and defeated the Hawks (1-1) 38-28.
The game was not without panic, though. The Hawks scored 20 fourth-quarter points to almost complete a comeback against the No. 7 Bulldogs. Johnny Rappold threw three touchdowns in the win.
The two victories could prove a nice confidence boost as Choteau hits a tough portion of its schedule. Choteau takes on Hays-Lodgepole (0-2) next week before facing off against No. 6 Great Falls Central (2-0) and No. 10 Centerville (2-0) in a pair of tests to see how the Bulldogs stack up in the rugged 8-Man North.
6-Man: Jordan bounces back
Allowing 103 points in a basketball game is tough to rebound from. But giving up that total in a football game? Now that takes a total readjustment.
Fortunately for the Jordan Mustangs, they did just that on Saturday.
After Richey-Lambert defeated Jordan 103-51 in Week 1, the Mustangs bounced back and defeated the Sunburst Refiners 70-56, to improve to 1-1. The Mustangs offense clicked once again, but this time, the defense was able to hold off another high-scoring team.
Also in 6-Man, No. 9 White Sulphur Springs held off No. 6 Hot Springs 20-18 on Friday night in a top-10 clash. The Savage Heat (1-1) scored with seven seconds left in the game, but were unable to convert the two-point kick leading to the Hornets’ (2-0) victory.
Extra point: What to watch for
Class AA upstart Great Falls High (2-0) will be put to the test when it takes on No. 3 Missoula Sentinel on Friday. No. 4 Billings West (1-1) heads out on a long road trip to take on No. 5 Kalispell Flathead (2-0). In Class A, 2016 champion Dillon (1-0) will travel to Columbia Falls to play the 2017 champion Wildcats (0-1), while Belgrade (2-0) hosts Miles City (1-1). The Cowboys are coming off of a 21-20 upset over the No. 4 Laurel Locomotives. Hamilton (2-0) will take on Browning (1-1), Laurel (1-1) hosts Havre (1-1), Lewistown (1-1) meets Livingston (1-1) and Billings Central (2-0) will host Glendive (1-1).
In Class B, No. 3 Missoula Loyola (2-0) will host No. 5 Fairfield (1-0) in a top five showdown. No. 8 Bigfork (2-0) hosts Florence (2-0), while No. 4 Townsend (2-0) hits the road to take on No. 6 Columbus (2-0).
The 8-Man West will see a massive showdown as top-ranked Drummond-Philipsburg (2-0) will take on No. 3 Charlo (2-0). Last season the Titans upset the Vikings en route to taking the top spot in the rankings and have been there ever since. Ennis (1-1) will host No. 8 Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap (2-0), while Belt (1-1) will play No. 6 Great Falls Central (2-0).
The 6-Man ranks will also see a big matchup as No. 1 Westby-Grenora (2-0) will travel to No. 4 Big Sandy (2-0). No. 9 White Sulphur Springs (2-0) is matched with No. 8 Noxon (2-0), and No. 7 Grass Range-Winnett (3-0) will host No. 3 Bridger (2-0).