BILLINGS — Yellowstone County is the soccer capital of Montana Saturday, with three state championship games. We know about the Central-Laurel girls rivalry, but Class AA has its own crosstown battle brewing.
"So exciting. It's so cool that this is going to be a crosstown match for our final," said Billings Skyview senior forward Halle Labert.
"Everyone's going to be here that we all know. It's just going to be a great environment, especially on our turf," echoed Billings West forward Jillian Hust.
The West-Skyview title match will be the third ever all-Billings final, but the first in the Magic City now that top seeds get to host. And that top seed is the defending champion Falcons.
"They're the defending state champions for a reason, and they will be until somebody beats them," said West head coach Rob Zimmerman. "Cam (Icenoggle) has them playing really well right now. They're a quality team."
Skyview has lost just once in two years, but that was to West exactly one month ago.
"It's gonna be a good game," said Skyview forward Joran Roe, Montana's defending Gatorade Player of the Year. "They play us really well, we line up position-wise super well, so it's just going to be the team that makes the least mistakes that will come out on top."
Recently, that's been the young Bears who are riding a 10-match unbeaten streak with just one senior, do-it-all forward Hust.
"She's really stepped up. She's taken a lot of the younger girls under her wing," Said Zimmerman. "She's a quiet leader. She works hard - she works her tail off - in everything we do. I think that the younger players have been feeding off that all season long."
"We're a family," Hust said of her teammates. "We've gotten so strong throughout the season. We're not fighting, we're not arguing, we all just mesh together well."
Skyview meanwhile has five seniors, including the dynamic duo of Labert and Roe, who can score from anywhere. West has seen that first hand.
"We lost 2-0 the first game against them. We gave up two goals that exact way, from way out," said Zimmerman. "Mentally, you've got to be in the game. If you check out, they're going to hurt you right away."
Last year, it took almost 100 minutes, but Roe did end the Bears season in a 1-0 double overtime State AA semifinal. We'll see Saturday if history repeats itself - or if there's a new chapter.