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What I’ll be Watching: Week 9 highlighted by conference championship games

Posted at 5:51 PM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-19 00:14:09-04

Class AA is in its penultimate week of the regular season, but all other classifications are in the final week of high school football before the playoffs begin.

Teams are still jockeying for playoff seeding with a handful of berths still to be determined. There are conference titles games across the state, and there are a few win-or-go-home games, too. The simplest playoff scenarios can be found here.

Class AA

  • Bozeman has a chance to lock up home-field advantage throughout the Class AA playoffs with a win on the road at Great Falls High on Thursday night. The Bison find themselves in a tie for sixth place and in need of a win over the season’s final two weeks to keep their playoff chances alive.
  • Billings Senior must keep winning to keep its hopes of a home playoff game in the first round alive. The Broncs take on Helena Capital this weekend. The Bruins, too, are fighting for their playoff lives. Capital sits at 3-5 and in a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot. A loss would dramatically decrease Capital’s odds of a playoff berth.
  • If Helena wins out, the Bengals will receive a home game in the first round of the playoffs. That starts this weekend with a road trip to Missoula Sentinel. Sentinel is tied with Great Falls High in the standings at 4-4. A win would drastically improve the Spartans’ playoff chances, but a loss would likely drop Sentinel into a multi-team tie.

Class A

  • Billings Central and Laurel meet with the Eastern A conference title on the line on Thursday night. The winner receives the conference’s No. 1 seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The loser receives the No. 2 seed and also gets a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
  • The Southwestern A conference championship is also on the line this weekend. Unbeaten Hamilton hosts Dillon with the winner claiming the No. 1 seed and receiving a first-round bye in the playoffs. The loser will wind up as a wild card team out of the Western A and will be forced to play on the opening weekend of the playoffs.
  • With the Western A bringing four wild card teams, the Corvallis-Butte Central and Libby-Whitefish games can serve as elimination games. The losers of these games will likely stand no chance to reach the playoffs with the wild card format, while the winners can hope for a wild card spot.

Class B

  • Huntley Project can throw a wrench in the Eastern B if it upsets unbeaten Roundup this weekend. The Panthers can clinch the Eastern B conference title with a win over Huntley Project, but if the Red Devils win there would be a three-way tie for the conference title between Roundup, Huntley Project and Colstrip.
  • The final playoff spot in the Eastern B is also up for grabs this weekend. Shepherd visits Red Lodge with the winner grabbing the conference’s No. 4 seed and earning the right to travel to top-ranked Fairfield in the first round of the playoffs.
  • There’s a big game in the Northern B this weekend as Glasgow hits the road to face Malta. Both teams have clinched playoff berths already, but this game will determine who hosts a playoff game and who travels on the opening weekend. The winner grabs the Northern B’s No. 2 seed and the loser takes the No. 3 seed.


  • The 8-Man North is taking five teams to the playoffs this season. That fifth and final spot will be determined this weekend when Chester-Joplin-Inerness travels to Chinook to take on the Sugarbeeters. The winner of this game receives the No. 5 seed and will face unbeaten Fairview in the first round of the playoffs.
  • The 8-Man West has plenty to be determined on the season’s final weekend. Arlee, Alberton-Superior and Charlo all sit at 6-2 in conference, but Charlo owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over both teams. If the Vikings win against Seeley-Swan, they will be the West’s No. 2 seed and the Arlee versus Alberton-Superior winner would be the No. 3 seed. However, if the Vikings lose, the winner of the Arlee and Alberton-Superior game would be the No. 2 seed and the loser the No. 4 seed.


  • Two unbeatens remain in the 6-Man South. Grass Range-Winnett will travel to take on Roy-Winifred for the conference title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The South’s No. 1 seed could have a tough first-round game against the East’s No. 4 seed, currently defending champion Westby-Grenora.
  • Both Sunburst and Denton-Geyser-Stanford have clinched playoff berths already but are still fighting for seeding. The winner takes the North’s No. 3 seed and the loser will be the No. 4 seed. The North takes on the West in the first round of the playoffs this year, so there is the possibility of DGS taking on White Sulphur Springs in a rematch of a game earlier this season that DGS won handily.
  • The final playoff spot out of the 6-Man West will be decided when Noxon takes on Valley Christian. Noxon has been close with White Sulphur Springs and West Yellowstone this season, but ultimately needs to win to make the playoffs. The winner of this game will travel to Geraldine-Highwood in the first round of the playoffs.

Playoff scenarios can be found here.