Hot Springs won its second state title in five years in 2016. (ANDY HANNUM/For MTN Sports)

HOT SPRINGS – Until November 15, 2012 was the year for Hot Springs football.

Then, the Savage Heat opened its season with a 75-0 win over the Box Elder Bears–the team that ended Hot Springs’ chance at a 2015 state title. Nine weeks later, Hot Springs was undefeated entering the 6-man playoffs.

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In the first round 66-0 drubbing of the North Star Knights, Hot Springs’ running back Trevor Paro became the all-class Montana touchdown leader with five touchdowns.*

The team’s only win less than 50 points was its 54-20 championship victory over Westby-Grenora. 2016 became the new 2012. As an eighth-grader on the Hot Springs’ sidelines of the 2012 championship game, Paro turned to his future teammates, Kane Lawson and Blaine Carr, and wanted to relive the moment, as players.

“We’ve been working hard for this ever since we were 8th graders watching that other team win state,” said Paro. “So I mean, working hard to get to this point and it finally pays off. This season has been so memorable to me and everyone in the town of Hot Springs.”

“Well there’s a lot of emotions running through you,” described head coach Jim Lawson after winning the game. “It’s a special moment and you try to savor every minute of it.

“I’m just happy for the players, and the fans, and everybody that was there to experience the game.”

For the villagers of Hot Springs who attended the game in Plentywood, it was a 600-plus mile trip. For its football team, it was the trip of a lifetime.

“Traveling with your best friends, traveling clear across the state of Montana…” acknowledged senior Kane Lawson, “I think that’s going to be the most memorable thing for me.”

Due to an MHSA reclassification, Hot Springs will compete in Class C 8-man football starting next season.

*Paro finished career with 135 touchdowns.