There was movement in the MontanaSports.com high school football polls in Class B, 8-Man and 6-Man entering the final week of the regular season.
Bigfork, Big Timber and Great Falls Central fell from the ranks of the unbeaten over the weekend, causing the teams to move in the respective polls. Several teams also locked up playoff berths and conference titles heading in to the final week of the regular season.
- Kalispell Glacier kept its postseason hopes alive with a 35-21 win over Helena Capital. Five teams have clinched playoff berths in Class AA, leaving just three remaining spots. Helena Capital is now tied with Butte and Glacier for the eighth and final playoff spot with identical 3-5 records.
- Butte, too, kept its playoff hopes alive with a win. The Bulldogs improved to 3-5 with a 28-14 win over Great Falls High. After starting the season 3-0, the Bison have lost three consecutive games, putting their playoff hopes in jeopardy in the season’s final weeks. Butte is tied with Helena Capital and Kalispell Glacier for the final playoff spot, while Great Falls High is tied with Missoula Sentinel for sixth place in Class AA at 4-4.
- Billings Central is one game away from the Eastern A conference title. The Rams trailed early to Lewistown but rallied for another 30-point victory. Lewistown will be the Eastern A’s No. 3 seed and will host the Eastern A’s No. 6 seed in the opening round of the playoffs. Belgrade and Miles City also picked up wins to clinch playoff berths out of the Eastern A.
- Columbia Falls locked up its second consecutive Northwestern A conference title with a 40-7 win at Whitefish. The win ensures the Wildcats a first-round bye in the playoffs and home-field advantage throughout.
- Hamilton remained unbeaten in an absolute shootout against Southwestern A foe Frenchtown. Entering the fourth quarter tied at 28, Hamilton’s explosive offense outscored Frenchtown 34-14 to set up a showdown with Dillon this weekend for the Southwestern A title. Frenchtown’s playoff hopes rest on a wildcard berth out of the West.
- Previously No. 1 Bigfork suffered its first loss of the season against Missoula Loyola, giving the Rams the Western B conference title. Loyola’s lone loss of the season is to new Class B No. 1 Fairfield. Loyola will be the Western B’s No. 1 seed and will have home-field advantage through at least the first two rounds of the playoffs. Bigfork will be the Western B’s No. 2 seed and host the No. 3 from the South, a rematch with Townsend.
- Eureka and Florence claimed the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds, respectively, out of the Western B. Two-time defending champion Eureka defeated Deer Lodge to clinch the No. 3 seed and Florence won and got the Deer Lodge loss it needed to clinch the No. 4 seed.
- Big Timber also fell from the ranks of the unbeaten in Class B, losing to Colstrip 21-20 on the road. The result doesn’t affect playoff positioning for either team, but Big Timber fell from the top five of the MontanaSports.com polls, allowing Colstrip to leap in for the first time this season.
- Fairfield defeated Conrad and Cut Bank knocked off Wolf Point, so the Northern B playoff picture is set, with only specific seeds yet to be determined. Fairfield once again is crowned conference champions and will be joined in the playoffs by Glasgow, Malta and Cut Bank.
- Fairview claimed the 8-Man East conference title by throttling visiting Forsyth 82-12. Fairview will be the 8-Man East’s No. 1 seed and will have home-field advantage through at least the first two rounds. Culbertson defeated Circle 28-18 to grab the East’s No. 2 seed and receive a home playoff game in the first round against Ennis. Circle is the East’s No. 3 seed and will travel to Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap to open the playoffs.
- With the 8-Man South only taking three teams to the playoffs, Ennis and Twin Bridges played an elimination game for the South’s No. 3 seed on Friday. Trailing 20-16 with under two minutes to play, Brayden Oberg put Ennis on top with a short rushing touchdown. That held up and propelled Ennis into the playoffs, where it will open on the road at Culbertson.
- Shelby is certainly making noise in its first year of 8-Man football. The Coyotes topped previously unbeaten Great Falls Central 34-0 to win the 8-Man North conference title. The Mustangs will be the North’s No. 2 seed. In the other inter-division playoff games, Choteau throttled Chinook to clinch a playoff berth and Centerville beat Chester-Joplin-Inverness to clinch a spot. Chinook and CJI will play for the North’s fifth and final playoff spot and an opportunity to travel to Fairview in the opening round.
- In no surprise, Drummond-Philipsburg rolled past St. Ignatius to claim the 8-Man West conference title. There was, however, some shocking news in the league. Charlo had to forfeit its game with Darby after suspensions left the Vikings shorthanded. This dropped Charlo into a tie with Arlee and Alberton-superior for second in the conference. If Charlo is again forced to forfeit, it would be relegated to a road playoff game in the first round. With a win this weekend, Charlo will be the West’s No. 2 seed.
- Roy-Winifred’s resurgence continued this past weekend when the Outlaws went into Bridger and rallied from a double-digit deficit to win 42-37. The win gave Roy-Winifred a top-two seed in the 6-Man South and sets up a conference title game with unbeaten Grass Range-Winnett next weekend.
- No. 1 Wibaux continues to steamroll its opponents. The Longhorns visited Richey-Lambert and beat down the Fusion, 56-16, to claim the 6-Man East conference title and home-field advantage through at least the first two rounds. Richey-Lambert will be the East’s No. 2 seed. Jordan and Westby-Grenora also clinched playoff berths out of the East.
- Geraldine-Highwood clinched the 6-Man North conference title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with its win over Denton-Geyser-Stanford. Big Sandy also clinched a playoff berth out of the North by defeating Power-Dutton-Brady. With PDB and Valier losing, DGS will be in the playoffs.
- Hot Springs beat Valley Christian 67-0 to clinch a top-three seed, White Sulphur Springs beat Gardiner 44-7 to clinch a top-three seed, and West Yellowstone held off Noxon, 82-72, to clinch a top-two seed out of the 6-Man West. There will likely be a three-way tie at season’s end that will go to a tiebreaker to determine playoff seeding and the conference champion.