In the late 90s Brad Hoffman took the reigns of the Custer football program for what was supposed to be a single year.
Fast forward to 2022 and he’s still at the helm, now of co-op Custer-Hysham-Melstone and has the Rebels as a top-5 team.
“Junior class is a solid bunch. Started out as freshmen, we took our licks. 60-nothing, 70-nothing," Hoffman said.
“We just really didn’t have the chemistry with each other. This year it’s all really kind of coming together. We’ve got that last year’s experience together and now we have a pretty solid foundation to work off of, I think," said junior offensive and defensive lineman Trent Kuntz.
It hasn’t been an easy schedule for the Rebels. They opened the year with 2-time defending state champion Froid-Medicine Lake but blew a big halftime lead – still their only blemish this season.
“Really we were up 20-0 with a minute left in the first half, so we kind of controlled the game. We let it get away from us and ended up losing by a point. But we thought we played a good game, so we’re going to be solid. We’ll be OK," Hoffman said.
They’ve since ripped off seven consecutive wins, including trouncing conference foes and playoff stalwarts Bridger and Shields Valley. The Rebels came into the season with the goal of making the playoffs, where anything can happen.
“First goal was playoffs. We hadn’t been there in five or six years, since ’17. That was our first goal, we’ve just got to get in the playoffs. Like they always say at any level, playoffs is a new season. Get to the playoffs, that’s a new season," Hoffman said. "So we want in the playoffs and from that point on go as far as we can go.”
With a playoff berth locked up, Custer-Hysham-Melstone has its biggest test of the season on Friday night, as they welcome in No. 2 Broadview-Lavina with the winner claiming the 6-Man South title.