CHINOOK — After losing in the first round of the 8-man playoffs last season to Fairview, the Chinook Sugarbeeters are back in action and feeling good after reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
The Sugarbeeters came into 2022 with some momentum and it showed with a strong win against Culbertson winning 38-32.
“We've seen Culberson quite a bit in the summer and they're strong and they're physical and our boys came out and they played just as, if not more physical than needed,” fifth year head coach Mike Jones said.
Senior all-conference Tyler Schoen stepped up in the absence of now graduated all -tate back Toby Niederegger. Schoen ran 28 times for 190 yards last week showing that the strength of this team is on the ground.
“We lost quite a few receivers this year, but we're going to get back into that,” Schoen mentioned. “Right now we have a real strong running game.”
Another positive to this offseason was that the players and coaching staff soaked up a wealth of knowledge. Jones had the honor of helping coach East team in the annual East-West Shrine game in Great Falls over the summer featuring the state’s best football minds and best players in all classes.
“I learned a lot and actually some stuff we're implementing this year on how to run a practice, how to break down film certain plays, certain schemes,” Jones explained. “We’ve taken a little bit of all those things and I think it's made our team better and we've already seen improvements with it.”
Chinook’s last state title in 8-man football was in 2015. Now, with more confidence in their abilities and knowledge of the game, last year’s disappointment in the playoffs is now just fuel to the fire.
“[For our] seniors and juniors, I think it left a taste in their mouth that says, we should have and we can and we're going to this year,” Jones stated.
Chinook has bye this week before playing Shelby at home the following week.