Friday night, standing on the sideline at Daylis, I had the chance to witness a team offensively and defensively dismantle one of the top four teams in the state. West had its way with Great Falls CMR, was clicking on more cylinders than they had all season, and in many ways looked unstoppable, cruising comfortably to a 21-0 lead by halftime. Certainly, a 21-point lead at the break, while solid, isn't anything to really write home about, but the Bears were winning in more ways than the lopsided score indicated. CMR had failed to sniff the endzone thus far, and it wasn't hard to envision this being the best team in Montana.
And then, the announcer came over the sound system, declaring that the bar had been raised. "We have a score from Helena," he said. "Capital 40, Great Falls 0 at halftime."
And just like that, it was a whole new ballgame. You could feel a change in the crowd and on the sidelines, because that announcement was a warning shot across the bow. "Think you're taking care of business?," it said. "Come take a look at what we're doing."
The consensus for much of the season was that West and Capital were a step above the other 12 teams in AA, and it continues to be a heated debate as to which team is better. Only a point separated the two when they met in the regular season, and this upcoming championship will provide both teams with something they so desperately want.
For Capital, it's a chance to prove that victory in Billings was based on superiority, not luck. For West, it's a chance at revenge and redemption; win next Friday, and suddenly no one remembers their Week 5 loss to the Bruins.
Certainly, the debate as which team is more deserving will continue through the following week, as it should. But before we get there, let's look back at how we got here.
West, as previously mentioned, was in complete control of CMR throughout the game, and victory was never in doubt. Capital controlled its opponent as well, hanging 40 on the Bison by halftime before stepping off the gas.
So the question I pose to all of you, faithful commentators, is this: Which victory was more impressive?