BILLINGS — From assembling a temporary goal post to laying down solid vinyl tape for sidelines to placing large pylons to mark the north end zone, re-figuring Rocky Mountain College’s Herb Klindt Field for Saturday’s 8-Man championship football game is worth it to athletic director Jeff Malby.
Saturday’s game between Alberton-Superior and Fairview marks the second year of the title game played at a central site. Last season, Butte’s Naranche Stadium played host to Drummond-Philipsburg's 50-14 win over Great Falls Central, and whether this tradition continues is up to the 8-Man schools.
Fairview fans have to make a 282-mile one-way trip to Billings for the game. Alberton fans have 371 miles to travel and Superior fans 400 miles.
The Montana High School Association passed the central-site plan on an indefinite basis with the understanding that it would be revisited after the first two years, according to Brian Michelotti of the MHSA.
Whether the 8-Man schools will extend the central-site plan remains to be seen. All Malby knows is that Rocky would like to continue to be a part of the process.
“For us, it’s the fact that we get to be part of the community,” he said earlier this week. “We just want to be really good hosts so that this maybe continues. Our goal is to go all out and do a really, really good job and get it back.”
Park City athletic director Bob Hogemark has also been instrumental in putting things together for Saturday. As the closest 8-Man representative to Billings, Hogemark has largely taken care of game-day management.
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“He’s taken on a bunch of different things,” Michelotti said. “He’s done a great job.”
Rocky and MHSA officials were scheduled to get the field in order starting Saturday morning. That meant narrowing Herb Klindt from 53 1/3 yards wide to 40 yards — the vinyl tape will mark the new boundaries — and shortening it to 80 yards, the field length used in 6-Man and 8-Man games.
The south end zone will remain as is while the north end zone will begin at the 20-yard line. Large pylons will mark the back of the end zone at the 10-yard line.
The standard goal uprights on the south end zone can be extended for the high school width (remember, Billings Central plays its games at Herb Klindt). As for goal posts on the north end, a temporary set owned by Great Falls Public Schools, was shipped via Pacific Recycling and arrived in Billings on Thursday.
All that was left to do was put them together for the big game.
“It’s just like a Christmas present,” Malby joked. “Some assembly required.”