The Class A football playoffs started last week with four first-round matchups. Miles City and Corvallis both went on the road to get upset wins, while Lewistown and Dillon took care of business at home to advance to the quarterfinal round, which gives fans their first East-vs.-West matchups of the season.
The MontanaSports.com Class A football playoffs preview named Billings Central the favorite last week, but an updated look at the Class A playoffs is below. Please click here for updated scores and pairings throughout the postseason.
Lewistown 21, Sidney 0
Miles City 46, Belgrade 7
Corvallis 28, Frenchtown 23
Dillon 27, Whitefish 7
Lewistown (8-2) at Columbia Falls (7-1), 1 p.m.
Miles City (7-3) at Hamilton (9-0), 1 p.m.
Corvallis (6-4) at Laurel (7-2), 1 p.m.
Dillon (7-2) at Billings Central (9-0), 1 p.m.
Best quarterfinal game: Corvallis at Laurel
Corvallis, which lost to Frenchtown 31-8 during the regular season, went on the road last week to upset the Broncs and secure a spot in the quarterfinal round. Now, the Blue Devils will make the much longer trip to Laurel, the No. 2 seed out of the Eastern A. Corvallis senior Hunter Pinheiro had 173 rushing yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win, and the Blue Devils will likely need another big performance from him as they go up against a Laurel team that has given up more than 14 points just once in its past six games (against Billings Central).
Billings Central and Dillon are annually among Class A’s top contenders, and the two are set to renew their playoff rivalry on Saturday. Since 2002, the Rams and Beavers have met 10 times in the playoffs, with Dillon holding a 6-4 head-to-head advantage, including championship wins in 2011 and 2013. The Beavers also won titles in 2003, 2005, 2014 and 2016, while the Rams claimed championships with wins over the Beavers in 2007 and 2012.
Billings Central played for the Class A state championship seven consecutive years from 2007-13, and Dillon played for the title six straight years from 2011-16. The 2017 championship between Columbia Falls and Hamilton was the first Class A state championship game that didn’t feature Billings Central or Dillon since 2002 when Laurel defeated Havre for the title.
Are Columbia Falls and Hamilton in the midst of building Class A’s next great rivalry? The teams met for last year’s state championship, with Columbia Falls getting the 26-14 win, and will meet in this year’s semifinal round if both are able to get wins over Eastern A opponents on Saturday. Hamilton hosts Miles City in what will be the grand opening of the new Hamilton Athletic Complex, and Columbia Falls hosts Lewistown.
Columbia Falls swept the season series last year, winning the regular-season meeting 23-20 before getting the double-digit win in the championship. The Broncs own a head-to-head win this year, winning 35-24 at Columbia Falls back in August.