From Washington-Grizzly, to Hamilton, to Missoula, to Butte; Western Montana teams chase huge victories

Posted at 9:30 PM, Nov 16, 2018

The Saturday fun starts at noon in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The Montana State Bobcats and Montana Grizzlies collide for the 118th time. The rivalry means so much to so many people around the state. But it will be exceptionally special for 11 young men wearing maroon. Montana will honor its seniors before the final home game of the season.

“It’s exciting. It will definitely be a moment I remember forever, let’s put it that way,” said Griz senior linebacker Josh Buss. “Cherish it and take it in as it goes. Every weekend we enjoy the moment. Running out of that tunnel is a special moment.”

On the high school field, two undefeated powers collide in the Class A state championship. Hamilton hosts Billings Central. The Broncs and Rams have dominated all season in different ways. Hamilton’s quarterback Carson Rostad is breaking passing records left and right, while the guys from Billings pile up yards on the ground. The contrast should be fun to watch, but not easy to defend.

“They like to pound the rock,” said Hamilton running back/linebacker Michael Golden. “They have two running backs I think with over 1,000 yards. I’m feeling pretty good about our run defense right now. So I feel like we’ll be able to stop it.”

“We’ve just got to fill hard with the linebackers,” added Hamilton quarterback/defensive back Carson Rostad. “Stop the run. The DB’s can’t get just bored running, cause they’ll throw once in a while, too. They’ve got a great receiver.”

Back in Missoula, the Class B final is a rematch of an early September showdown. Fairfield dominated Missoula Loyola that day on its way to an undefeated season. But the Rams have not lost since. And they’re playing their best football now heading into round two, because the whole team has shown improvement.

“Everyone has definitely stepped up each and every week,” said Loyola running back/defensive back Ryan Tirrell. “It doesn’t matter which week it is, different people step up each week. If someone is down, other people step up, and someone is always looking to be a leader.”

8-man football moved its championship to a neutral site. But it might feel like home to Drummond-Philipsburg. The co-op doesn’t have to make a long trip to Naranche Stadium, and they opened their season on the same turf. The Titans also know all about playing in the championship, after capturing the title last year. The Titans have reason to be confident — they haven’t lost since 2016. Their opponent, Great Falls Central, is back in a state title game for the first time since the 1960s.

“We played those guys in camp, and what a good football team,” said Titans head coach Mike Cutler.

“Our coaches put in a crazy game plan every game,” said Titans wide receiver/defensive back Jaxon Lee. “And I think we’ll just do whatever they say, and we should be all right.”

The Grizzlies and Bobcats kickoff first at noon in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The winner will still have a shot at the playoffs, while the loser’s season is over.

Hamilton’s beautiful new stadium will host the battle of Broncs and Rams at 1:00. Loyola looks for revenge versus the Eagles at 2:00. Drummond-Philipsburg battles Great Falls Central at 1:00 in Butte. And in 6-Man, Eastern Montana rivals square off when Wibaux takes on Jordan.