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What I'll be watching: Conference titles up for grabs in loaded Week 7 slate

Posted: 6:27 PM, Oct 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-11 13:11:32-04
EUREKA FB.jpg

Montana’s high school football regular season is winding down as we enter Week 7.

This week’s slate is full of games that are loaded with playoff implications. The Western AA will become clearer after Friday night, as a pair of two-loss teams in conference play will meet up in a battle for home field in the opening round of the playoffs.

Libby will put its perfect record on the line this weekend in the first of a tough three-game stretch. Can defending Class A champion Billings Central rebound from last week’s blowout loss to Laurel, or will the Eastern A have a new champion in 2019?

A rivalry game in the Northern B will likely determine which team will host a playoff game in the first round and which will travel. The Western B’s top two teams meet up on Friday night, too, where Eureka has a chance to lock up the conference crown.

The 8- and 6-Man fields are again full of intriguing games. Can two-time defending 8-Man champion Drummond-Philipsburg win to keep its playoff hopes alive? Fort Benton and Fairview have rolled to unbeaten records so far, but can they each beat top contenders in their respective conference?

A rematch of the 2018 6-Man title game will take place on Saturday in Wibaux with conference title implications, while the 6-Man South and 6-Man North will have battles to determine sub-division champions.

Buckle up, Week 7 could be quite the ride across Montana’s football landscape.

Class AA

  • There are four teams in the Western AA at 2-2 in conference play and fighting for two spots that would host playoff games in the opening round. Two of those teams will meet in Kalispell on Friday night, as Helena High will face Kalispell Glacier. Helena High is coming off a surprising loss to Kalispell Flathead, which was the Braves’ first win of the year. Glacier’s offense will be a challenge for Helena, as the Wolfpack have scored more than 28 points in every game this season. Friday’s winner in Kalispell will keep hope alive to host in the opening round of the playoffs.
  • Another Western AA battle will take place in Missoula on Friday night, as No. 2 Missoula Sentinel will face Missoula Hellgate. Sentinel has been quite impressive to this point in the season and can lock up a home game in the opening round with a win. Hellgate is in the group of teams at 2-2 in conference play and will likely need to win to keep hope alive for a home game in the opening round.

Class A

  • Libby is 6-0 and sits atop the Western A, but the Loggers will begin the gauntlet of their schedule this Friday at Dillon. Libby has locked up a playoff spot this year but likely has its sights set on home-field advantage throughout. A win over Dillon, which has defeated 2018 runner-up Hamilton, would go a long way in showing what type of team Libby is in 2019. A loss by Dillon will put the Beavers in jeopardy of having to hit the road in the opening round of the playoffs.
  • Defending champion Billings Central was steamrolled by Laurel last week for its first loss of the season. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Rams, as they travel to conference-leading Miles City on Friday night. Miles City is the lone team in the Eastern A without a loss and can move one step closer to locking up the conference title with a win. The Cowboys haven’t won the Eastern A since 2015. Billings Central could miss out on the first-round bye given to the East’s top two teams if it can’t beat Miles City.

Class B

  • Eureka will be the sight of a battle between top five teams in Class B on Friday night, as No. 2 Eureka will host Missoula Loyola, which came in tied for fifth in the MontanaSports.com power rankings . The Lions can essentially lock up the Western B regular-season title with a win over Loyola. Eureka has been dominant in its victories throughout the season and can make a statement with another exceptional performance against the 2018 Class B runner-up.
  • Fairfield is seen as the favorite out of the Northern B, but rivals Glasgow and Malta are hot on Fairfield’s heels. Both Glasgow and Malta are 3-0 in conference play so far, and had Glasgow not lost at Colstrip last weekend this would be a meeting between unbeaten teams. As it stands, Friday night’s winner in Glasgow will have the inside track to a top-two seed in the conference and a home game in the opening round of the playoffs.

8-Man

  • The 8-Man West has been one of the most competitive divisions across all classifications of Montana high school football. Six teams enter this weekend with a winning record in conference play, including Drummond-Philipsburg and Darby, who will meet in Darby on Friday night. This game essentially serves as an elimination game, as the loser will likely be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
  • Fort Benton has been exceptional in the 8-Man North this season and can wrap up the ‘B’ sub-division regular-season title with a win over Shelby on Friday night. Shelby is in the group with Belt, Choteau and Centerville that is fighting for playoff spots behind Fort Benton and Great Falls Central. A win for Shelby could propel it to the playoffs, while a loss could leave the Coyotes at home when the postseason begins. Fort Benton is looking to keep home-field advantage within its grasp.
  • All that stands between Fairview and a rematch with Scobey for the 8-Man East conference title is a date with Circle on Friday night in Fairview. The top-ranked Warriors have decimated opponents in the 8-Man East all season and can take the next step to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs with a win over the Wildcats. Circle may be unbeaten in the 8-Man East ‘A’ sub-conference, but they were blasted by Scobey earlier this year. Fairview beat Scobey by nearly 40 to open the season. Don’t be surprised if Fairview blows this thing open early.

6-Man

  • Wibaux will be the sight of a rematch of the 2018 6-Man state title game when the Longhorns host Jordan on Saturday afternoon. Wibaux beat Jordan 70-27 for the title last fall. Both teams are ranked inside the top three of the MontanaSports.com power rankings and are good bets to make deep runs this postseason. This game has conference title implications, though, as a win by either side would put them in the driver’s seat for the conference crown. The East’s No. 1 seed is important, too, because the East will have home-field advantage throughout the entirety of the playoffs.
  • The 6-Man South ‘B’ sub-division is on the line in Winifred this weekend, as the Outlaws will host Shields Valley. Both teams are 3-0 in conference play this year. Shields Valley has suffered just one loss this season – a 25-13 loss at No. 4 Hot Springs. Roy-Winifred has embraced the role of favorite in the South this season, but Shields Valley has made back-to-back playoff appearances under head coach Mitch Ward and is looking to take the next step as a program. Saturday’s winner will likely meet Bridger for the 6-Man South regular-season title.
  • Another sub-division title will be on the line on Saturday, as No. 5 Power-Dutton-Brady will visit Geraldine-Highwood. PDB is unbeaten this season and has taken control of the 6-Man North ‘A’ sub-division. Geraldine-Highwood can really throw a wrench in PDB’s conference title hopes with a win. The Rivals also have their own hopes of a conference title but will need to beat PDB and have Denton-Geyser-Stanford lose at Sunburst on Friday night.

For updated standings click here .