(Editor's note: This article will be updated throughout Friday with scores and highlights from around the state)
BILLINGS — New year, same result in the cross-state rivalry between Missoula Sentinel and Billings West.
In a rematch of the past two Class AA state championship games — both won by Sentinel — the Spartans again toppled West 24-21 on Friday at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium to extend their winning streak to 22 games dating back to the start of the 2020 season. It was Sentinel’s fourth win over the Bears in that stretch.
Sentinel took a 10-0 lead following a 29-yard field goal by Caden Dirnberger in the first quarter and an 8-yard touchdown run by Kellen Curtis in the second. The Spartans also scored on the last play of the first half when Danny Sirmon caught an 8-yard TD pass from Riley Allen on the heels of a muffed punt by West that was recovered by Matthew Van Horn.
The Bears regrouped at halftime and cut into the lead midway through the third when Drew McDowell found Kolten Wynia with a 32-yard scoring pass. Drew McDowell added a 2-yard touchdown run at the 3:25 mark of the third quarter to pull West within 17-14.
Needing to stem the tide, Sentinel got some breathing room back with 9:03 remaining as Allen hooked up with Sirmon again, this time from 11 yards to make it a 24-14 lead. Those points proved crucial, as West got back within 24-21 on a 36-yard scoring strike from McDowell to Wynia.
Sirmon’s hands were put to use one last time, as he recovered the ensuing onside kick to ensure the victory.
Other Class AA scores:
Bozeman Gallatin 46, Missoula Big Sky 6
Butte 36, Billings Senior 28 (Thursday, highlights below)
Great Falls 30, Helena 27 (Highlights below)
Great Falls CMR 42, Missoula Hellgate 35 (Highlights below)
Helena Capital 28, Bozeman 21 (Highlights below)
Kalispell Flathead 27, Billings Skyview 0
Kalispell Glacier 63, Belgrade 0 (Highlights below)