We're just two weeks into the high school football season, but a pair of defending champions have already fallen.
It certainly looks like there's going to be a new champion in Class B, and there's no shortage of teams in contention. Manhattan, the 2019 runner-up, won a phenomenal game over another 2020 contender. Columbus appears to be one of those teams, too, after hanging up 56 first-half points last Friday night against what was thought of as one of the state's better defenses.
The 6-Man ranks will likely be crowning a new state champion this year, too, as Jordan's season got off to a rocky start on the road last week and a whole new hierarchy begins to take shape in the 6-Man East. Broadview-Lavina continues to light up the scoreboard, while Hot Springs held on in its season opener.
The Western A continued play in Week 2 with several blowout scores. Polson and Whitefish delivered a thrilling game, just not in the high-scoring fashion we had hoped.
One score was a bit of an eye-opener in the 8-Man ranks, as 2019 runner-up Alberton-Superior was shut out. Drummond-Philipsburg made its 2020 debut on Friday night in grand fashion over another 2019 playoff team.
Those are among the highlights that caught my eye in Week 2 of the high school football season.
- A week after losing in a shootout to Columbia Falls, Polson got in the win column against Whitefish, albeit with just 21 total points between the teams. Polson's 14-7 win will keep it in early contention for one of the conference's playoff spots. And with the numbers Jarrett Wilson is capable of putting up, anything can happen.
- Libby, Hamilton and Corvallis rolled to victories in Week 2, too, as did Dillon and Frenchtown. The Western A is likely going to be a jumble all season, just as it was last year.
- What a game between Manhattan and Florence. Manhattan built a two-score lead at halftime but wound up defeating the Falcons in overtime in its season opener. Both Manhattan and Florence figure to be in contention late in the season in Class B, but both are going to have some serious competition within their respective conferences.
- The Southern B is going to be no joke this season. Along with Manhattan, Columbus certainly looked the part of a team capable of making a run in October and November. The Cougars scored 56 first-half point en route to a 62-40 win over Red Lodge, which lost in the 2019 semifinals. Columbus did it by air and ground against the bigger Rams. Can the Cougars continue to beat teams with their speed?
- All those teams are trying to replicate what Eureka did in 2019 -- win a state championship. Eureka doesn't look like it will be the title contender its been in past years, as the Lions fell at Townsend in Week 2, 27-12. Along with Townsend's 37-point loss to Bigfork in Week 1, Eureka might not be the best team in the Western B, which features the Vikings and the aforementioned Florence Falcons.
- Alberton-Superior finished runner-up in 2019, but the Mountain Cats got walloped by Thompson Falls in Week 2. The Bluehawks shut out Alberton-Superior, 42-0. After a playoff appearance in its first year of 8-Man football last fall, Thompson Falls looks primed for another strong season. The 8-Man West won't be a cake walk, though.
- Drummond-Philipsburg still resides in the 8-Man West, and the Titans looked as dominant as ever in their 58-8 win over St. Ignatius, a 2019 playoff team. The Titans had their Week 1 game canceled, so they're in the win column to open the year. Drummond-Philipsburg and Thompson Falls will not meet in the regular season, so both teams will need to be dominant each time out.
- Defending champion Jordan opened its season at Richey-Lambert on Friday, but the Fusion weren't very nice to the Mustangs. Richey-Lambert hung up a 50-burger, beating Jordan 50-14. Along with Wibaux's 56-0 loss to Savage, it appears there's a changing of the guard atop the 6-Man East.
- Again, there were big scores across 6-Man football, but for the second time in as many weeks Broadview-Lavina scored more points than anyone. The Pirates beat Custer-Hysham 68-0 and have now won their first two games by a combined total of 145-0. The schedule toughens up in a few weeks, but the Pirates will be a team to watch not only this season, but for the next couple, too.
- Hot Springs was undefeated in last year's regular season on its way to the 6-Man West conference title, while Valley Christian finished last. Valley Christian pushed Hot Springs last Friday night before ultimately falling, 53-38, but is that a testament to the Eagles' improvement or more toward Hot Springs not being the same dominant team? Is it a combination of both? Time will tell.