BILLINGS – The Senior High Broncs haven’t played in two weeks after a forfeit win over Missoula Hellgate in the regular-season finale. Players have taken advantage of healing some injuries and getting back to basics. They’re your top Class AA seed and the only unbeaten team left in AA.
“You know, it’s not like we’ve arrived because we’re 10-0 or anything,” said head coach Chris Murdock. “Nobody cares that we’re 10-0, that we’re going to play. They’re going to come after us and try to beat us.”
“We just know that we’ve got to keep getting better every game,” receiver/defensive back Keaton Anderson said. “Every team is going to come into the playoffs and play their best and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Broncs quarterback Nathan Dick says the key for Senior is simplicity.
“Play fast, you know,” Dick said. “That’s what we always do. And offensively and defensively I think if we do that, we’ll be alright.”
Senior hosts Missoula Big Sky Friday at 7 p.m.
Billings West is the No. 3 seed and also at home. But not until Saturday afternoon.
West’s only loss was to Senior until the Bears let go of a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter Friday at Helena. They lost the game and the No. 2 seed.
“It definitely woke us up a little bit,” said receiver Braydon Deming. “I wouldn’t say we got complacent, but we definitely weren’t playing our best and it was just kind of a wake-up call. We need to bring it.”
“We did get punched in the mouth a little bit,” added head coach Rob Stanton. “Staggered a little bit. So hopefully that will not necessarily wake us up a little bit, but just show us how important it is that we take every play seriously and stay focused from here on out.”
West hosts Helena Capital Saturday at 1 p.m.
Central and Laurel both hit the road for 7 p.m. quarterfinal games Friday.
The Rams are in Polson but have to like their chances with a stable of running backs who can bust loose on any play.
“It’s amazing … we all get a break,” said running back Noah Smelser. “Ben Voss definitely had a breakout season all year. Evan Bartle, the first game against Miles City, first play, he scored — what? — a 60-yard touchdown. So any of us can break a touchdown at any time.”
“Each week it seems like it’s a different guy,” said Rams coach Jim Stanton. “An unselfish group, I think, that just goes out there and plays.”
Laurel’s guys are playing their sixth road game of the season as they head to traditional power Dillon.
The Beavers have played in the past five State A championship games. Their only loss this season was by a touchdown at Columbia Falls.
“They’re hard to beat, whether it’s at home or on the road,” said Laurel coach Mike Ludwig. “They just do not make a lot of mistakes. And you’ve pretty much almost got to play a perfect football game to get a win.”