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6-Man football playoffs: Grass Range-Winnett chasing co-op history in quarterfinals

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Posted at 11:00 PM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 01:08:10-04
Grass Range-Winnett defeated Roy-Winifred to remain undefeated and claim a 6-Man South title. (TOM WYLIE/MTN Sports)

The 6-Man football playoffs started last week with all four No. 1 seeds getting first-round wins. Wibaux, the top seed out of the East, and Geraldine-Highwood, the North’s top team, cruised to wins, while West No. 1 Hot Springs scored a double-digit win over Denton-Geyser-Stanford. South No. 1 Grass Range-Winnett, meanwhile, had to rally from a halftime deficit to top Westby-Grenora.

The four No. 1 seeds will host quarterfinal games on Saturday with all four kickoffs scheduled for 1 p.m.

The MontanaSports.com 6-Man football playoffs preview named Geraldine-Highwood and Wibaux the co-favorites last week, but an updated look at the 6-Man playoffs is below. For updated scores and pairings, please click here.

First-round results

Hot Springs 49, Denton-Geyser-Stanford 24
Jordan 88, Roy-Winifred 40
Geraldine-Highwood 51, Noxon 14
Richey-Lambert 80, Bridger 30
Wibaux 59, Shields Valley 6
Big Sandy 56, White Sulphur Springs 22
Grass Range-Winnett 27, Westby-Grenora 24
West Yellowstone 86, Sunburst 60

Quarterfinal matchups

Jordan (8-2) at Hot Springs (8-1), 1 p.m.
Richey-Lambert (8-2) at Geraldine-Highwood (9-1), 1 p.m. (at Geraldine)
Big Sandy (7-2) at Wibaux (9-0), 1 p.m.
West Yellowstone (8-1) at Grass Range-Winnett (11-0), 1 p.m. (at Grass Range)

Best quarterfinal game: Richey-Lambert at Geraldine-Highwood

The Rivals bested the Fusion back in late September, a 59-40 win, setting up the only rematch between teams in the quarterfinals. Liam Laws ran for four touchdowns and Brady Duvall threw for three more as Geraldine-Highwood ran its then-win streak to five consecutive games. Richey-Lambert quarterback Gabe Gonsioroski and the Fusion will need to eliminate turnovers and costly mistakes from the first meeting if they hope to avenge that loss when it matters most.

History lesson

The towns of Geraldine and Highwood have traveled to dozens of playoff football games since the inception of 6-Man football in Montana. The Tigers and Mountaineers combined for 16 state championships, 11 for Highwood and five for Geraldine, with five of those games pitting the two against one another. After the two joined forces in a co-op seven seasons ago, the Geraldine-Highwood Rivals won 6-Man championships in 2013 and 2014.

Grass Range-Winnett has only been in the 6-Man playoffs three times this decade and has never advanced beyond the second round. The Rangers were a quarterfinalist in 2013 and again last fall, but fell to traditional powers each year — Valier in 2017, Geraldine-Highwood in 2013. West Yellowstone isn’t a perennial power, but the Wolverines won their final six games of the season and dropped 86 points on Sunburst last week, so the Rangers will have to showcase their stingy defense to make co-op history in advancing to the 6-Man semifinals.

Foreshadowing

Wibaux appeared in 13 8-Man football championships, winning six, and could be on a collision course to play for the program’s first-ever 6-Man state championship in only its second year in the classification. White Sulphur Springs bounced the Longhorns from last season’s playoffs, a 34-31 contest, but Wibaux already owns key wins over Geraldine-Highwood (40-38 on Aug. 25), Jordan (65-19 on Sept. 21) and Richey-Lambert (56-16 on Oct. 12) this season.

Cade Dschaak ran for three touchdowns in last week’s 59-6 win over Shields Valley, while Chance Larson and Wyatt Davis added two rushing scores each. Wibaux’s powerful ground game and stifling defense (the Longhorns allowed more than 24 points only once, the 40-38 win over Geraldine-Highwood), coupled with its winning tradition, could find the Longhorns again competing for a state title, albeit the first in this classification.