For the first time in history, Columbia Falls is home to the state championship football team.
The Wildcats rolled past Hamilton 26-14 to win the Class A state championship in front of a raucous home crowd at Satterthwaite Memorial Field on a chilly Saturday.
A year after falling short in the state title game in Columbia Falls, the Wildcats’ defense proved too powerful for the Broncs while the high-octane offense rumbled up and down the field, commanding the clock and momentum throughout most of the game. Columbia Falls capped its best season in history with a 9-1 record.
The Wildcats’ historic victory teetered on collapse early in the fourth quarter after Hamilton scored a touchdown to cut Columbia Falls’ lead to 19-14 and the Broncs’ regained a noticeable bounce in their step. Hamilton went on to control the ball and began cruising downfield until the vaunted Wildcat defense shined. Columbia Falls stopped the Broncs on fourth and one with 6:48 remaining, and in the next play, Wildcat quarterback Austin Green found Ben Windauer wide open for a 42-yard touchdown. It was the second TD connection between Green and Windauer.
Auguste Emond, a junior, kicked four pivotal field goals for Columbia Falls.
Destiny arrived with confetti and students poured onto the field to celebrate the school’s first trophy.
“Everyone who doubted us, I want to thank them. We’re No. 1,” senior running back Logan Kolodejchuk said.
Read next week’s Beacon for a longer story from Saturday’s state championship game.