Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 9 football games

It’s the final week of the regular season in all classes except the AA.

Many playoff spots are already spoken for, but there’s still a lot we don’t know. The schedule works out, too, so that we have a lot of important head-to-head games this weekend.

In Class AA, two weeks remain, and there’s still a lot to be determined there. The class kicks off with a couple big Thursday night games, so we’re rolling out the picks early this week:

* indicates a “game of the week”

Class AA

October 22, 2014 11:00 pm Video Loading…
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Poll position: Little changes as regular season winds down

The regular season is winding to a close, and the Associated Press polls are reflecting that.

All 15 teams ranked first, second or third in the five classes held maintained their respective positions. Kalispell Glacier, Belgrade, Fairfield, Wibaux and Denton-Geyser-Stanford were the top-ranked teams for the third consecutive week.

The Class AA poll saw no changes -- Helena, Great Falls CMR, Billings Senior and Billings Skyview -- followed Glacier in the top five.

Dillon moved up one spot to fourth in the Class A poll. Miles City moved in to No. 5, and Laurel, following its loss to Billings Central dropped out.

The same 10 teams are ranked in Class B as last week, too, though the order changed. Baker and Bigfork were the biggest beneficiaries of Conrad's loss to Fairfield.

October 22, 2014 9:00 pmLoading…
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Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 8 football games

The countdown to the postseason is on.

Only two weeks remain in the regular season for all non-Class AA teams. AA still has three weeks to go.

As playoff positioning comes to the forefront, there is still a lot left to be determined. While some conferences – like the Eastern C – are set, others – like the Eastern A – have yet to see a team clinch a playoff berth, let alone a specific seed.

There are some big games this week that will clarify the postseason picture, so let’s get to the picks:

* indicates a “game of the week”

October 17, 2014 12:00 am Video Loading…
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Poll position: Belgrade tops Class A poll; Townsend gets 1st-place vote

It took most of the season, but Class A finally went two consecutive weeks with the same team atop the Associated Press poll. Belgrade earned six first-place votes to secure the No. 1 ranking again.

Butte Central received four first-place votes, and Billings Central received one.

Kalispell Glacier, Fairfield, Wibaux and Denton-Geyser-Stanford maintained their season-long holds on their respective top rankings.

In fact, both Class C polls saw the exact same top five from last week.

You can find the polls in their entirety below, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, rating points and previous rankings at right. How I voted and a brief reaction follows each poll.

October 15, 2014 3:45 pmLoading…
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Forsyth, Whitehall losses shake up Southern B

After following the status quo much of the season, the Southern B finally had a somewhat unpredictable Friday night.

It started with Forsyth, the second-ranked team in the class, losing at Baker. The Dogies were coming off solid back-to-back wins over Colstrip and Forsyth. They had allowed only one touchdown all season before digging an 18-point hole against the Spartans.

Forsyth’s attempt at a fourth-quarter rally came up short, as Baker went on to get the 18-13 win.

Luke Gonsioroski rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans. He also intercepted three passes on defense.

Baker improved to 4-2, and more importantly positioned itself to secure one of District 3B’s two playoff spots. The Spartans, Dogies and Shepherd are all 2-1 in the conference, behind undefeated Huntley Project. The Red Devils beat Baker 35-14 earlier in the season, but have yet to play Forsyth or Shepherd.

October 11, 2014 8:11 pmLoading…
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Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 7 football games

With fewer and fewer games remaining, the importance of each is magnified. A loss could doom a team’s postseason chances, or a win could propel a team into playoff contention.

Each week now basically presents a must-win scenario for teams hoping to reach the postseason, especially those that suffered earlier losses.

Other teams have already put themselves in good position to, at a minimum, qualify for the playoffs. But for teams like Helena and Great Falls CMR, simply reaching the playoffs isn’t enough.

It’s about putting yourself in the best position to find success in the playoffs, which adds to the intrigue of this week’s biggest game.

*indicates a “game of the week”

October 09, 2014 11:00 pm Video Loading…
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Poll position: Belgrade is Class A's new No. 1; little changes elsewhere

This week's Associated Press high school football polls came out earlier Wednesday, and -- again -- Kalispell Glacier, Fairfield, Wibaux and Denton-Geyser-Stanford topped their respective classes.

And again, Class A has a new team atop the poll. Belgrade became the fourth different team to reach No. 1 in the class in four weeks.

In AA, Glacier and Helena have been ranked Nos. 1 and 2 all season. Great Falls CMR and Billings Skyview have been slotted third and fourth for three straight weeks.

Fairfield has topped the Class B poll since the polls debuted, but Glasgow fell from No. 2 for the first time. Forsyth leap-frogged the Scotties.

In Class C, Wibaux and Ennis are 8-Man's top two teams for the fourth consecutive week. The 6-Man poll has had DGS, Savage, Hot Springs and Geraldine-Highwood in the top four slots all year.

October 08, 2014 8:00 pmLoading…
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While 8-Man playoff picture takes shape, Northern C up for grabs

Beginning with the 2012 season, the Northern C aligned its 10 (at the time) football teams in one division rather than the split-conference format it previously used.

The idea was to prevent imbalance within the conference, increasing parity and providing equal opportunity for teams to clinch one of the four state playoff berths.

Mission accomplished.

Since the league altered its format, there hasn’t been a more competitive conference in Montana 8-Man football. This season is certainly following suit.

The North is the only 8-Man conference that doesn’t have at least one undefeated team remaining. In fact, six of the North’s eight teams have one or two losses, and all six of those could conceivably have two losses after this weekend’s slate of games. Chinook (4-1) plays at Belt (4-2) and Great Falls Central (4-1) hosts Simms (3-2).

October 08, 2014 7:15 pmLoading…
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Senior boys clinch Billings Cup; Skyview’s girls on the verge

Senior boys clinch Billings Cup; Skyview’s girls on the verge

Senior's Wes Curence and Skyview's Bryce Sandbak and Sam Cline battle for the ball in their soccer game in Billings Tuesday September 30, 2014.

Following last Thursday night’s 2-1 win over West, Senior’s boys finished their four Billings Cup matches unbeaten and clinched the top spot in our annual intra-city competition. The Broncs won three of their four matches against Skyview and West and finished with a +9 goal differential, a pretty dominating performance. West and Skyview still have a match to play on Thursday, but the Broncs’ 10 points are well out of reach for the second-place Golden Bears. 

Skyview’s girls have a pretty solid grip on the Cup, as well. The Falcons lead West by three points, and a Bears’ win on Thursday when the teams meet up would put both squads on nine points. But Skyview has a better goal differential, and West would have to win by three goals to share the Cup and win by at least four goals to win the Cup outright. Suffice to say, looking at the bigger picture, the Bears would be more than happy with a 1-0 win. Any win would allow the Bears to tighten their grip on fourth place in the Eastern AA and a potential home playoff berth.

BOYS

Team  W-L-T  Pts.  GF  GA  GD 
Senior  3-0-1  10  13  +9 
West  1-1-1  4 +3
Skyview  0-3-0  13  -12 

Tuesday, Sept. 2

October 07, 2014 3:59 pmLoading…
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Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 6 football games

Heading into October, the end of the regular season is beginning to come into focus. The playoffs for every class except AA begin Nov. 1.

As teams jockey for postseason position, there are some heavyweight games featuring ranked opponents this week, including big-time matchups in each class.

Hear are my picks for this weekend’s slate of great games:

* indicates a “game of the week”

Class AA

October 03, 2014 12:00 am Video Loading…
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Parity abounds in Class B football

Year in, year out, Class B is typically the most competitive level of football in Montana.

This season is no different, as seven teams remain undefeated after five weeks. Another six only have one loss.

Of those 13 teams, though, only two — Deer Lodge and Bigfork — reside in western Montana. Teams from the Western division have won three of the past four state championships.

“I think things go in cycles,” Ronan coach Jim Benn said over the summer. “Class B football is definitely a cycle-driven endeavor.”

Prior to the West’s recent run, a team from the division hadn’t won a title since 1997 when Frenchtown, now Class A, beat Plentywood.

October 01, 2014 7:15 pmLoading…
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Poll position: Laurel climbs to No. 1

There's a new No. 1 atop the Class A poll again. Laurel received seven first-place votes to replace Columbia Falls, which fell completely out of the top five, at the top. The Wildcats lost to Whitefish last week.

Kalispell Glacier, Fairfield, Wibaux and Denton-Geyser-Stanford all remained as the top-ranked teams in their respective classes.

Besides Laurel, three other teams -- Dillon, Belgrade and Butte Central -- received first-place votes in Class A.

The Associated Press polls are listed in their entirety below, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, rating points and previous rankings at right. How I voted and a brief reaction to the polls follow.

Class AA

October 01, 2014 6:30 pmLoading…
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Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 5 football games

All five classifications will be into their conference football schedules after this weekend, with Class A and B teams beginning that portion of their schedules this week.

Class AA, 8-Man and 6-Man teams have basically been playing meaningful games from the get-go.

But for those leagues beginning their conference play this week, it’s a chance to start with a relatively clean slate. What you did in the first few weeks can be meaningless, depending on your conference performance.

Some conferences, like Districts 1B, 3B and 5B, will feature exciting matchups each week, while others, like the Central A, appear to have only one or two championship-caliber teams.

Here are this week’s picks, where hopefully I’ll be able to get off my slide predicting the AA games.

September 25, 2014 8:00 pm Video Loading…
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Poll position: Four No. 1s maintain top ranking; Columbia Falls replaces Dillon

It's the second week of the Associated Press football polls, and there was actually a decent voter turnout. After only eight media members voted last week, 12 offered their opinions this go-around.

Four teams -- Kalispell Glacier, Fairfield, Wibaux and Denton-Geyser-Stanford -- held on to their top rankings. Columbia Falls unanimously replaced Dillon as the No. 1-ranked team in Class A.

Five teams -- Bozeman, Billings Central, Conrad, Twin Bridges and Power-Dutton-Brady -- jumped into the top five or 10 (depending on classification) after not being ranked last week. Only the 6-Man poll saw the same teams ranked this week as last.

You can find the polls in their entirety below, with first-place votes in parentheses and records, rating points and previous rankings at right, as well as how I voted and some reaction.

Class AA

September 24, 2014 3:30 pmLoading…
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Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 4 football games

After last week’s awesome slate of games, we revert back to the norm this week.

Class AA doesn’t really have a marquee matchup. Neither does Class B or either Class C classification. Nope, it will be up to Class A to provide the fireworks again, as it did last week.

There were four one-point games in Class A last weekend, and there are some intriguing matchups on this weekend’s schedule. Columbia Falls plays Anaconda in a game featuring two unbeaten squads in western Montana on Friday.

Saturday gives fans two more appetizing games: Miles City at Belgrade and Dillon at Billings Central.

Here are this week’s picks:

September 18, 2014 10:36 pm Video Loading…
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Kimmel column: Things I think I think

Class AA teams are already 30 percent of the way through their regular-season schedules.

In the lower classifications, the conference schedules really start to heat up now, meaning games are increasing in importance with each passing week. And the playoffs start in only six weeks! Crazy, right?

Seasons seem to have a way of flying by, and this year is obviously no different.

With the first Associated Press polls coming out this week, now seems like a good time to try to gauge this season’s progress.

Things I think I think

September 17, 2014 9:00 pm Related Loading…
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Poll position: Glacier unanimous No. 1; 11 Class A teams receive votes

The first edition of the Associated Press football polls came out this week, and there weren't many surprises at the top. Kalispell Glacier, Dillon, Fairfield, Wibaux and Denton-Geyser-Stanford earned top honors.

Glacier was the only unanimous No. 1, and only six teams received votes in the Class AA poll.

Class A was a completely different story, where a whopping 11 different teams received votes. Dillon and Columbia Falls were the only ones to garner first-place votes, though.

The polls in their entirety are listed below, with first-place votes in parentheses, records and points at right. How I voted and some reaction to the rankings follow each class.

Class AA

September 17, 2014 8:45 pmLoading…
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Slim's picks: Predicting Week 3's football games

The first week of the 2014 high school football season brought wild finishes across the state. Billings Senior and Jefferson rallied for impressive come-from-behind wins against Butte and Deer Lodge, respectively.

The second week saw teams in every class earn statement wins. Kalispell Glacier beat Great Falls CMR, Dillon shut out Polson, Fairfield ended Missoula Loyola’s 24-game winning streak, Arlee toppled Superior and Hot Springs took care of Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap.

What does Week 3 have in store for football fans? On paper, it's the most appetizing weekend of the short season. Picks:

* indicates a “game of the week”

Class AA

September 11, 2014 11:00 pmLoading…
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Billings Cup: Senior boys strengthen lead in standings

Senior’s girls are already halfway done with their intra-city matches, and the defending Billings Cup winners have dug themselves a hole. Already 0-2-0 with 1-0 losses to West and Skyview, the Broncs are near elimination. By winning their first Cup match, the Falcons moved into a tie with West for the top spot, each team sitting on three points. Provided there isn’t a draw between West and Skyview on Sept. 18, the victor will go to six points, meaning Senior would have to win its final two matches just to reach that total.

Senior’s boys picked up a big three points – and a big plus-5 in goal differential – with their 6-1 win over Skyview on Tuesday. Skyview will be under pressure to get at least a draw in their Sept. 18 meeting with the Golden Bears if the Falcons want to keep from getting left behind by the top-sitting Broncs and second-place Bears.

Senior’s teams won’t have another Cup match until Sept. 30.

BOYS

Team  W-L-T  Pts.  GF  GA  GD 
Senior  1-0-1  +5 
West  0-0-1  -- 
Skyview  0-1-0  -5 
September 11, 2014 9:46 pmLoading…
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Slim's picks: Predicting this week's football games

Coaches will tell you that teams make the biggest improvements from the first game to the second. If that’s the case, this weekend should be a better barometer to gauge teams than opening weekend.

There were some wild games to get the season started, and there are some more intriguing matchups this week. It’s a busier schedule, too, so there are sure to be some fireworks around the state.

My picks:

* Indicates a “game of the week”

Class AA

September 05, 2014 12:08 am Video Loading…
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Headlines

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 9 football games

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 9 football games

It’s the final week of the regular season in all classes except the AA.

October 22, 2014 11:00 pm Video Loading…

Poll position: Little changes as regular season winds down

The regular season is winding to a close, and the Associated Press polls are reflecting that.

October 22, 2014 9:00 pmLoading…

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 8 football games

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 8 football games

The countdown to the postseason is on.

October 17, 2014 12:00 am Video Loading…

Poll position: Belgrade tops Class A poll; Townsend gets 1st-place vote

It took most of the season, but Class A finally went two consecutive weeks with the same team atop the Associated Press poll. Belgrade earned …

October 15, 2014 3:45 pmLoading…

Forsyth, Whitehall losses shake up Southern B

After following the status quo much of the season, the Southern B finally had a somewhat unpredictable Friday night.

October 11, 2014 8:11 pmLoading…

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 7 football games

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 7 football games

With fewer and fewer games remaining, the importance of each is magnified. A loss could doom a team’s postseason chances, or a win could prope…

October 09, 2014 11:00 pm Video Loading…

Poll position: Belgrade is Class A's new No. 1; little changes elsewhere

This week's Associated Press high school football polls came out earlier Wednesday, and -- again -- Kalispell Glacier, Fairfield, Wibaux and D…

October 08, 2014 8:00 pmLoading…

While 8-Man playoff picture takes shape, Northern C up for grabs

Beginning with the 2012 season, the Northern C aligned its 10 (at the time) football teams in one division rather than the split-conference fo…

October 08, 2014 7:15 pmLoading…

Senior boys clinch Billings Cup; Skyview’s girls on the verge

Senior boys clinch Billings Cup; Skyview’s girls on the verge

Following last Thursday night’s 2-1 win over West, Senior’s boys finished their four Billings Cup matches unbeaten and clinched the top spot i…

October 07, 2014 3:59 pmLoading…

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 6 football games

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 6 football games

Heading into October, the end of the regular season is beginning to come into focus. The playoffs for every class except AA begin Nov. 1.

October 03, 2014 12:00 am Video Loading…

Parity abounds in Class B football

Year in, year out, Class B is typically the most competitive level of football in Montana.

October 01, 2014 7:15 pmLoading…

Poll position: Laurel climbs to No. 1

There's a new No. 1 atop the Class A poll again. Laurel received seven first-place votes to replace Columbia Falls, which fell completely out …

October 01, 2014 6:30 pmLoading…

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 5 football games

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 5 football games

All five classifications will be into their conference football schedules after this weekend, with Class A and B teams beginning that portion …

September 25, 2014 8:00 pm Video Loading…

Poll position: Four No. 1s maintain top ranking; Columbia Falls replaces Dillon

It's the second week of the Associated Press football polls, and there was actually a decent voter turnout. After only eight media members vot…

September 24, 2014 3:30 pmLoading…

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 4 football games

Slim's picks: Predicting the Week 4 football games

After last week’s awesome slate of games, we revert back to the norm this week.

September 18, 2014 10:36 pm Video Loading…

Kimmel column: Things I think I think

Class AA teams are already 30 percent of the way through their regular-season schedules.

September 17, 2014 9:00 pm Related Loading…

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Slim Kimmel

Online sports editor for The Billings Gazette.

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