BILLINGS — With Week 3 of the high school football season in the books, here is a look at five of the best storylines from the weekend:
Class B: Can Fairfield contend with Eureka?
It sure looks like it.
The previously fifth-ranked Eagles visited Missoula Loyola last Friday in a top-five matchup, and walked away with a 38-6 victory over the No. 2 Rams to firmly thrust themselves into the spotlight.
Fairfield — a school with a longstanding football tradition and seven straight division titles — was seen as a Class B favorite coming into the season. But on Friday, they confirmed that those thoughts were no fluke.
Quarterback Ryder Meyer, a Griz football commit, threw three touchdowns and ran for another. Dawson Allen caught a 79-yard score and took a kickoff back 80 yards for another while Keeley Bake and Derek Simmons also caught touchdown passes. Bake also ran for a touchdown.
For their efforts, the Eagles (2-0) jumped from No. 5 to No. 2 in this week's 406mtsports.com high school football rankings, right behind two-time defending champion Eureka. The Lions (3-0) won their 23rd straight game this weekend as well. Fairfield and Eureka met in last year's Class B semifinals with Eureka winning 31-6.
At the rate both teams are playing so far, it looks like they could be on a collision course for another meeting this upcoming November.
8-Man: Can Drummond-Phililpsburg be stopped?
It sure doesn't look like it.
The reigning 8-Man state champions took on division rival and previously third-ranked Charlo last Friday, with Drummond-Philipsburg winning soundly 52-8.
For a top-three matchup, that result is staggering.
Colby Manley ran for three touchdowns while Kade Cutler caught two touchdown passes from Jaxon Lee. Cutler and Braden Huber each ran for a score as well. The win marked Drummond-Philipsburg's 15th straight.
So far the Titans (3-0) have outscored opponents 150-30 to start the year. Only time will tell, but until someone actually stops them, they appear to be the overwhelming favorites to take home the championship trophy for a second straight year.
Class AA: Bison charging
Boy, has Great Falls High turned things around.
One year after finishing 2-8, the Bison are off to a 3-0 start this season, with their latest win serving as a game of the year candidate. Great Falls upset previous No. 2 Missoula Sentinel 33-30 on Friday night thanks to a one-yard quarterback sneak from Blake Thelen in overtime. Thelen threw four touchdowns in the game, finding Kyle Torgerson twice and Lucas Banderob and Teage Fought as well. For their efforts, the Bison jumped three sports in the 406mtsports.com football rankings from No. 5 to No. 2.
"In my three years here, it's probably my biggest win," head coach Mark Samson told the Great Falls Tribune.
After blowout wins over Helena Capital and Billings Skyview, Great Falls got the statement win over a preseason favorite that it needed. Now, the Bison are firmly in contention talk, but their route doesn't get easier. They hit the road this Friday to take on No. 5 Billings West (2-1), another team seen as a championship contender that is coming off of a big win of its own over Kalispell Flathead.
The Bison are charging early. We'll see how that continues down the stretch.
Class A: Point, points and more points
Scoring was the name of the game in Class A over the weekend, with six teams putting up more than 40 points led by Hamilton which put up 6-Man like numbers in a 70-20 victory over Browning. Corvallis, Billings Central, Laurel, Sidney and Columbia Falls all followed suit.
Nine teams scored over thirty points with six games decided by 20 points or more. The classification saw a good mix of close games, as Whitefish defeated Butte Central 28-27 and Stevensville beat Ronan 26-25. Belgrade also held on to defeat Miles City 27-21 while Laurel beat Havre in a shootout 49-35.
Others weren't so close, as Hamilton, Corvallis, Billings Central, Columbia Falls, Sidney and Lewistown cruised to easy victories.
Class A is lacking a true upset so far this season. Five teams remain undefeated, with Hamilton and Billings Central serving as the early favorites to win it all. But there is still plenty of season left to see if another team can emerge from the pack.
6-Man: New king in the South
The last few seasons, the Bridger Scouts have been the team to beat in the 6-Man South.
On Saturday afternoon, it appears that division has a new top dog.
Grass Range-Winnett defeated Bridger 27-0 to improve to 4-0 on the season in a big statement win for the Rangers. They jumped from No. 7 to No. 3 in the 406mtsports.com rankings and firmly put themselves in position to grab the division's No. 1 seed come playoff time. Zane Stahl ran for two touchdowns while Jacob Jessen and Caleb Hess also scored.
Defending champion Westby-Grenora has started this season hot. But now, Grass Range-Winnett has proved to be right in the thick of things early on.
Extra point: What to watch for
Kalispell Flathead (2-1) and No. 4 Missoula Sentinel (2-1) will look to rebound after tough losses as they face one another in Missoula on Friday. No. 2 Great Falls High (3-0) visits No. 5 Billings West (2-1) as well. In Class A, Havre (1-2) hosts Belgrade (3-0) while Sidney (1-2) takes on Glendive (1-2).
In Class B, No. 1 Eureka (3-0) puts its winning streak on the line as it hosts No. 5 Bigfork (3-0). No. 3 Colstrip (3-0) hosts No. 6 Roundup (2-0) on Friday as well. In 8-Man, No. 4 Great Falls Central (3-0) will travel to take on No. 6 Choteau (3-0) while Chinook (2-1) hosts No. 9 Centerville (3-0).
6-Man will have a host of good games including No. 1 Westby-Grenora (3-0) hosting No. 4 Richey-Lambert (3-0). No. 6 Geraldine-Highwood (2-1) will take on No. 7 Big Sandy (2-1) and No. 9 Hot Springs (2-1) will hit the road to compete against No. 10 Noxon.