LAVINA — It’s time to go back in history, to the 1968 Montana Class C State Track and Field championships. The legendary Steve Conover won the triple jump, pole vault and low hurdles events, and he helped both relay teams win gold as Broadview claimed the team title.
To this day, it’s the only title — in any sport — Broadview has ever won. Not only that: according to officials, neither school in the Broadview-Lavina co-op has ever even played in a state championship game.
That will change Saturday.
"It’s crazy. It’s like a movie to me," said Pirates senior Jace Jansen. "It’s just so cool."
When the clock hit zeros and the scoreboard read Broadview-Lavina 35, Froid-Medicine Lake 34 in last weekend’s state 6-man semifinal, Jansen let it all go.
"It means a lot to me, my family and the whole community," he said, fighting back tears. "It’s history and I love it. I love every one of my brothers on the team, and it just means a lot to all of us."
Jansen was an unlikely hero in the semi. The undefeated Pirates were down 12 at halftime, but scored right out of the gate in the 2nd half, recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and then senior quarterback Kade Erickson found fellow senior Jansen for the game-tying score, with a cool point to the crowd.
"I don't go out very often, but I knew I had a chance on this one," Jansen said. "It's only my second touchdown of the whole year!"
He picked a good time for it. Maybe a little inspiration from the halftime speech?
"Coach told us, ‘Go have fun,’" said Erickson. "We have a lot of seniors, and we didn’t want this to be our last game."
Even after Jansen’s touchdown, there was more work to do after Froid-Lake took the lead back. But with 34 seconds left, Erickson hit Connor Glennie for the game-tying touchdown, and then William Sanguins for the game-winning conversion. Here’s that last play-call.
"Send everyone, hope someone gets open, and hope I don’t get sacked," Erickson said with a smile.
Seems simple enough. Now that the Pirates can cross off, 'Reach Championship Game,' all that’s left is, 'Win Championship Game.' They’ll have to beat title favorite Big Sandy on the road Saturday at 1:00 p.m. But Erickson, who’s grandfather Tony helped win that track title in 1968, has just the mantra to do it.
"Stay calm, whenever you need to."