BILLINGS — With Week 11 of the high school football season in the books, here is a look at some of the top storylines from over the weekend.
A new Class A king
For six straight seasons, the Dillon Beavers worked their way into the Class A football state championship game. Four of those seasons, including last year, they walked off the field victorious.
On Saturday, that streak came to an end.
The Beavers were halted by Sidney 38-22 in Sidney in one of the most highly-anticipated games over the weekend, with many believing during the regular season that these two could have met in the championship game.
But as fate would have it, they played in the Class A quarterfinals.
Jace Johnson ran for a touchdown and threw one to Alec Lovegren for Sidney. Lovegren also ran for a score, while Sawyor Thorgerson ran for two touchdowns. The Eagles defense also stepped up in containing Dillon's offense.
The Eagles (9-1) will host Columbia Falls (7-1) in the semifinals. The Wildcats defeated Miles City 48-8 on Saturday. The other semifinal will feature Billings Central (9-1) traveling to take on Hamilton (9-1). The Rams defeated Frenchtown 45-10, while the Broncs blanked Glendive 47-0.
Dillon is the first defending champion to fall in the playoffs so far, as Billings Senior, Eureka, and Ennis all prevailed in their respective classes. The 6-Man classification will also have a new champ because defending titlist Hot Springs moved up to 8-Man before ultimately canceling its season.
And with four teams left in Class A, a new king will be crowned.
Upset in the Garden City
In a weekend where snow was falling in abundance around the state, Missoula County featured its own "Snow Bowl."
And whether it was the Missoula Sentinel defense or the cold weather, Missoula Big Sky's red-hot offense finally cooled.
The seventh-seeded Spartans upset No. 2 and crosstown rival Big Sky 26-6 on Friday, sending shock waves throughout the Class AA and changing up the brackets drastically.
Rylan Ortt and Caden Messer each had a pair of rushing touchdowns, while Elias DeWaters carried the ball 35 times for 172 yards to lead the Spartans to the win. According to Kyle Houghtaling of the Missoulian and 406mtsports.com, it is the first time Sentinel has made the semifinals since 1990.
Its road doesn't get easier though, as Sentinel (6-4) must travel to Billings to take on the defending champion Senior Broncs (11-0). Senior had an upset scare of its own on Friday night, before ultimately prevailing 35-25 over Bozeman. It was the Broncs' 24th straight win.
The other semifinal in the AA will feature a good crosstown rivalry, as Helena (8-2) and Helena Capital (7-4) will meet to decide who will play in the state title game. Helena won the earlier meeting this year between the two 9-0. Capital defeated Kalispell Flathead on the road 24-10, while Helena topped Billings West 42-7.
West versus North
That is all that's left in the Class B ranks, with turf wars and pride now on the line in the upcoming semifinals this weekend.
Missoula Loyola and Eureka will represent the Western Division, while Fairfield and Shelby will try to crash the party and get some new names in the state championship this year from the Northern Division.
Loyola (8-3) will travel to Shelby (7-3) in a battle of No. 2 seeds with upset wins over the weekend. The Rams traveled to Colstrip where they topped the Colts, the Eastern Division's No. 1 seed, 27-18. Shelby, which trailed going into the fourth quarter against Whitehall, scored 10 fourth-quarter points thanks to some heroic play from injured quarterback Aaron White to lift the Coyotes to a 16-13 win. For Whitehall, the Southern Division's No. 1 seed, it was its first loss of the year.
On the other side of the bracket, Eureka (9-0) will host Fairfield (10-0) in a heavyweight battle of No. 1 seeds and recent champions. Fairfield was the state champ in 2015, while Eureka won its first in school history last year.
So, will we get a rematch of Loyola and Eureka in the state final or will Shelby and Fairfield throw some Northern Division representation in there? Tune in next week to find out.
Forsyth prevented Charlo, now will they stop Ennis?
The Forsyth Dogies already stopped one half of last year's state championship game from getting back.
Now, they must clash with the winning half.
The Dogies defeated the Charlo Vikings 50-32 on Saturday afternoon thanks to 28 unanswered points in the second half to come back and win. Now, Forsyth (11-0) will host defending champion Ennis, which defeated Charlo in last year's state championship game. Ennis (10-1) took down Belt 72-36 to advance to the semifinal.
Forsyth has been thriving in its drop from Class B football to 8-Man, with senior running back Nathan Weber saying, "It's been pretty smooth."
"It's different, yeah, but a couple games into it you just have to adjust to that and you have to do your best," senior quarterback Caleb Knoche added after the win over Charlo. "It's helped us a lot. It was much needed, especially with our numbers being down."
The winner of Forsyth and Ennis will meet up with the winner from Dummond-Philipsburg and Circle. The Titans (11-0) recently defeated Fairview 46-8, while Circle (9-2), which was the No. 3 seed from the Eastern Division, upset No. 1 seed Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap on the road 34-22. Both of Circle's wins have come on the road. Both games will kickoff at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
No. 1 seeds will clash
There is a reason Westby-Grenora, Valier, Bridger and White Sulphur Springs all were No. 1 seeds coming into the 6-Man playoffs.
They were clearly the best.
That fact is ever present now that those four teams will duke it out next weekend for a spot in the 6-Man state championship game in two weeks.
Westby-Grenora (11-0), which has been ranked at No. 1 in the 406mtsports.com high school football rankings all season, rolled over West Yellowstone 59-6. The Thunder will travel to Valier (10-0), which defeated Grass Range-Winnett 40-7.
On the other side of the bracket, White Sulphur Springs (11-0) held off 6-Man newcomer Wibaux 34-31, and will host Bridger (9-1), which defeated Big Sandy 42-7 on Friday night. The Scouts have been battling through some injuries this season, with their lone loss coming by one point in overtime to Westby-Grenora to open the year.
These four teams have proven to be the best in the state all season long.
In two weeks, there will be only one.