What a Day for North Central Montana

I know I usually focus on roundball in my articles but this Saturday was something special. Whether you were watching the Griz beat the Cats, the Diggers roll the Blue Hawks, or a State Championship game being played it was a great day of football.

I was busy working the sidelines of the Montana Tech Orediggers first playoff win in a decade but I wish I could have been in more than one place at a time.

If I had that ability I think my first destination would have been Stanford, Montana. To tell the truth, I’ll always be somewhat partial to Six-Man football. As some of you football traditionalists roll your eyes let me explain. Six-Man football is one part track meet, one part basketball, two parts football, and one part insanity. This goofy game rides the line between complete chaos and a scripted ballet. Six-Man football is reminiscent of something you might have played when you were six or seven horsing around with all the other kids behind the bleachers during a high school football game.

In high school, I played three years of Six-Man football before my team moved up into the Eight-Man ranks and I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t wish we could’ve stayed in Six-Man. And it’s not because guys like Chinook’s Ben Stroh and Jorrell Jones ran me over in Eight-Man, because I’ll tell you that plenty of people ran over me in Six-Man, just ask Cole Jelinek or Rhett Young. I missed Six-Man football because you were never out of the game. Sure you might be down by a couple of scores with just a few minutes to play, but in Six-Man football that’s just two long runs and the other team missing a couple of tackles.

From all accounts it sounds like Box Elder and DGS made their State Championship matchup more than entertaining. The Co-op school came out with the victory, 60-34, and finished a perfect 13-0 season. In any type of football it’s difficult to go undefeated but with quality opponents in the Northern C and in the game of Six-Man it’s something to be really celebrated. Credit the leaders on the DGS team who brought three communities together and established a winning tradition in such a short time. Heck they’re pretty nifty at basketball too. Congratulations to Coach Scott Sparks as well, what a deserving guy. I wish him all the best as he takes the helm of the Fergus High Basketball program. Who wouldn’t want to go coach their alma mater? He’s one heck of a coach but an even better guy. I know Class C is going to miss him.

But let’s not have another incredibly important story fall by the wayside. I’m talking about the Box Elder Bears having their best season in well… ever.

It isn’t very often you would associate a Native American football team with success but the Bears proved that way of thinking dead wrong. Led by Brandon The Boy, Shane Ketchum, Bodis Duran, Jerrod Four Colors, and Elias Duran, the Bears made something special happen. They proved that they weren’t just skilled on the hardwood but also on the gridiron. A second place finish in the state is something to be proud of and something you will remember for the rest of your lives. There are plenty of people that would give anything to have had the opportunity to play in a State Championship, myself included.

Chalk the first one up for North Central Montana.

Today wasn’t just a great day for the North Central Montana in Six-Man, but in Eight-Man as well.

If you aren’t from Big Sky Country you might not know what the heck a Sugarbeeter is. Don’t try to Wikipedia it, that doesn’t work either. After today however, it doesn’t matter what the real definition is. Sugarbeeter means champion.

The Sugarbeeters completed an unblemished season (12-0) by defeating the Arlee Warriors 44-20 for the State Class C Eight-Man crown. It isn’t hard to believe that a Northern C team won the State Championship, heck it seems like it’s been a pretty common sight for some time to have a number of teams from the area in the hunt for a title. The Northern C has been stacked for quite some time.

For Chinook, the time was theirs. Chinook had one goal in mind going into this season: get back to State Championship game. The Beeters did just that after a tough 46-14 defeat to Wibaux last season. They ran through the gauntlet of the Northern C with teams like CJI, Simms, and Belt being more than formidable and came out on top. In the end, I can’t help but think that the Northern C prepped the Sugarbeeters for the playoffs as half the games this season had to have felt like playoff games in the regular season.

Chalk the second one up for North Central Montana.

As I paced the sidelines at Bob Green Field in Butte, America with two pairs of long underwear on I couldn’t help thinking of two things: One, I sure hope I don’t have to go the bathroom. And two, what the heck is going on in Fairfield?

Granted it was halftime in the Class B State Championship when I was checking scores on Twitter but I was surprised the Eagles were down 14-0 at the intermission. I figured the undefeated Eagles were going to win the Chipper but I must digress, I’m not a huge Class B guy. Maybe I was wrong to assume Fairfield was going to win the State Championship against Huntley Project.

Well I was wrong about being wrong.

Fairfield scored 27 unanswered points and gained 277 yards of offense after the break. The Eagles picked the right time to hit their stride and bring the Class B hardware back to Fairfield for the first time since 2011.

Chalk the third one up for North Central Montana.

What a fantastic day for football fans in North Central Montana (except Bobcat fans). When three teams from the same area of the state can all claim hardware on the same day it’s a pretty good feeling.

But what does this mean for the North you might ask? I think it means the North is the cream of the crop. It means we’ve got the bragging rights for the calendar year. Take it from a guy living in a house with roommates who played in the Western and Eastern C, bragging rights are pretty important.

So thank you DGS, Box Elder, Chinook, and Fairfield for giving this guy the trump card. I know it’s going to come in handy.

Now ice up, rest up, and lace them up because its roundball time, and that means I can retire the long underwear.


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