There is something freakish, and I mean that in a totally positive way, about Helena Capital’s football team. As far as Montana football goes, the Bruins are almost unexplainably good. Last Friday they rolled over highly regarded Billings West, 35-14, to claim their third straight Class AA state championship. Capital has won 10 state titles overall, including seven since 1996. The Bruins finished 13-0 this year.
West is no slouch either, as it showed with a 56-13 victory over Flathead earlier this month. In fact West, Capital and C.M. Russell have so thoroughly dominated Class AA football over the past three decades, only a small handful of other teams have gotten the opportunity to call themselves champion. Since 1980, those three teams have claimed 21 of the 29 Class AA state championships.
Those statistics are almost mind-boggling and help illustrate that winning traditions, once cemented over a long period of time, have a tendency to build upon themselves.
At C.M. Russell, legendary coach Jack Johnson has won more than 300 games in 36 seasons as head coach of the Rustlers. Teams only play 10 regular season games a year and a 7-3 season is considered a strong season. So what Johnson has accomplished is truly remarkable. Capital, on the other hand, has managed to maintain its success under different coaches, extraordinary in its own right.
In the highest level of high school football in the state, Class AA, it truly is amazing that no matter how good the rest of the competition is, the chances are every year that one of only three teams will be left standing when the smoke clears. And over the past three years, the field of champions has been narrowed down to just one. Congratulations, Helena Capital.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.