Football: Dillon and Central looking to again reach Class A title game

2014-08-28T19:35:00Z Football: Dillon and Central looking to again reach Class A title gameBy JOHN LETASKY jletasky@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Kalispell Glacier played in the State AA championship last year and fell to Bozeman 24-14.

The Hawks finished their championship season 13-0. The Wolfpack finished 11-2.

Wolfpack coach Grady Bennett said his team is eager for the season to begin and ready to take the next step.

“We have a lot of experience returning and those players got a taste of what it was like to play for a championship and come up just short,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll be hungry to return to that stage.”

For Bozeman, last year’s title was redemption for coming up just short in 2012, falling to Butte 38-36. The Hawks were also State AA champions as recently as 2010.

In Class A, the question is can anybody stop Dillon and Billings Central from playing for hardware a fourth straight season. Dillon downed Central 25-13 for last year’s championship. The Rams had won the championship in 2012 with a 37-7 conquest over Dillon. In 2011 the same two programs faced each other for the chipper, with the Beavers prevailing 44-10.

Overall, the Rams have reached the championship game seven straight seasons and also were State A champions in 2007.

In Class B, Baker has earned the moniker “The Beast from the East” with title banners in 1986, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2004. The Spartans were second in 1996. Last year, however, Missoula Loyola continued to build on its legacy. Loyola downed the Spartans 30-13 to claim the Rams’ second straight championship.

The titles are the first two for the Rams in football. Loyola was the state runner-up in 2006.

“We will have a lot of new faces playing after graduating eight starters on both sides of the ball,” veteran Baker coach Dave Breitbach said.

In Class C 8-Man, Ennis captured its third state title and first since 1982 with a 68-56 shootout victory over perennial-power Wibaux. The game was unique in the fact it pitted No. 1 Ennis vs. No. 2 Wibaux and the media poll worked out.

If Baker is the “Beast from the East” in Class B, Wibaux matches that description for Class C.

The championship game marked the seventh time the Longhorns had appeared in the title game in coach Jeff Bertelsen’s tenure. Their last title came in his first season of 2001. Wibaux has won five state C championships and played in 12 title games.

Wibaux has the highest winning percentage in the state since 2000, going 137-17 for an 89 percent rate.

Overall, Ennis has played in four title games, also capturing titles in 1978 and 1982 and finishing runner-up in 1983.

In 6-Man, Geraldine-Highwood defeated Denton-Geyser-Stanford 50-18 in the title tilt.

“We return six guys that started a lot of games last year and have experienced a deep playoff run,” Bearcats coach Scott Sparks said. “We might not have as much veteran depth as last year, but we will put six guys out on the field offensively and defensively that can really play. If we keep our older guys healthy and a few of our younger guys step up, we should make another deep run this year.”

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