With Class AA and the Eastern A joining the fray this past weekend, Montana high school football is full steam ahead. And points were in high demand in Week 3.
Billings Senior started off the Class AA season with a bang last Thursday, but there were a handful of impressive performances across the state. Missoula Sentinel blew the doors off its opponent and Great Falls High’s Levi Torgerson had a night for the record books.
Miles City made its 2020 debut in style, as the Cowboys’ quarterback continues to decimate defenses through the air. Laurel and Billings Central played their season openers, too. The Locomotives look like they’ll be a championship contender, while the Rams won in dramatic fashion in Week 3.
In Week 2, Columbus hung up 56 points in the first half on a 2019 semifinalist. Week 3 wasn’t kind to the Cougars, as the offense sputtered in a loss at home. Manhattan and Glasgow have been two of the more impressive Class B teams to date and had no problem with their Week 3 opponents.
If you just glanced at the score, you may have thought St. Ignatius and Alberton-Superior were playing a basketball game based on the number of points scored. The two sides took their shootout to another level. Westby-Grenora continues to blaze a new trail in the 8-Man ranks, as the Thunder kept their record unblemished and are setting up a showdown with the defending state champion.
There’s going to be a new champion out of the 6-Man East this season. Froid-Medicine Lake has firmly placed itself in the conversation as there are now just two unbeaten teams in conference play. Shields Valley grabbed hold of the 6-Man South, and White Sulphur Springs sent a message to the rest of the 6-Man West.
That and more highlight what caught my eye in Week 3 of the high school football season.
- Missoula Sentinel looked nearly flawless last Friday night. The Spartans lit up the scoreboard on their way to a 59-19 victory over visiting Kalispell Flathead. There’s an embarrassment of riches at Sentinel this season with weapons all over the place. Sentinel was ranked the No. 1 team in the Treasure State Media Poll entering the season and earned that ranking in Week 3.
- What a night Great Falls High’s Levi Torgerson had against Bozeman Gallatin. Torgerson had four total touchdowns in the Bison’s 48-14 rout of the Raptors, scoring in all three phases of the game. He returned the opening kickoff for a score, caught a touchdown and returned two interceptions for touchdowns, the second of which was 105 yards. Torgerson is no stranger to big nights, amassing five TDs in a game in 2019.
- Miles City isn’t going anywhere in 2020, especially with a gunslinger like Carson Hunter still on the roster. Hunter threw for 318 yards and six touchdown passes in Miles City’s 55-13 win over Glendive, the Cowboys’ 24th consecutive victory over the Red Devils. Jayden Venable caught three of those touchdowns and is in line for a monster season.
- Laurel and Billings Central also picked up wins on the opening night for the Eastern A. Laurel steamrolled Havre, 42-0, behind four touchdown passes by Eli Aby. Central needed every minute to escape Sidney with a win. Sidney led Billings Central, 18-14, with 2:26 left after an Eagles touchdown. Central drove down the field and scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:03 left to start the season off with a conference victory.
- The most surprising score of the week came out of Columbus. The Cougars beat Red Lodge, 62-40, in Week 2, but their high-flying offense was grounded by Jefferson in Week 3. The Panthers, playing their first official game of the season after an exhibition with Whitehall, held Columbus to just 18 points and escaped with a 20-18 victory. Columbus has an impressive non-conference win, but now the Cougars have to battle back from the bottom of the Southern B.
- The Southern B will likely go through Manhattan, though. The Tigers are the top-ranked team in the Treasure State Media Poll and rolled again in Week 3 with a 47-0 win over Three Forks. Glasgow, last week’s fifth-ranked team and likely to move up, thumped Baker on the road, 46-12. Glasgow is the only 3-0 team in Class B currently.
- Points weren’t hard to come by between St. Ignatius and Alberton-Superior in Week 2. The Mountain Cats outlasted St. Ignatius, 74-68, in a score that resembles a game on the hardwood. It’s an important win for the 2019 runner-up, as Alberton-Superior was drubbed by Thompson Falls in Week 2. The 8-Man West currently has five teams at 1-1 in conference play, with three unbeatens at the top.
- Westby-Grenora continues to win, period. 8-Man football hasn’t made the Thunder any less competitive, as a 32-3 win over Circle pushed them to 3-0 on the season. Westby-Grenora is atop the 8-Man East as the only 3-0 team in conference play. The Thunder are likely eyeing an Oct. 2 matchup at defending champion Fairview, which is 2-0 in 2020.
- There are two unbeaten teams remaining in the 6-Man East. Richey-Lambert thrashed Bainville, 66-18, to get 3-0, Froid-Medicine Lake won a big road game at Savage, 50-19, and is now 2-0. The two teams don’t meet until late in the season, and it could potentially decide the regular-season champion.
- Shields Valley has a stranglehold on the 6-Man South. The Rebels built a 36-0 first-half lead over Bridger en route to a 36-12 win at home. Broadview-Lavina could potentially be the last team to keep Shields Valley from another conference title, but the Rebels will get the Pirates at home on Sept. 25.
- White Sulphur Springs sent a message in Week 3. The Hornets made their 2020 debut with a 74-0 win over Valley Christian. An Oct. 3 matchup at Hot Springs will likely decide the conference champion. The Hornets last won the conference in 2017, and that resulted in a semifinal run.