Glacier Wins First Playoff Football Game

By Beacon Staff

Bigfork finally lost in the state football playoffs and Glacier finally won.

The Wolfpack won the first playoff game in school history on Nov. 4, defeating Billings Senior 24-10 at home in the first round of the Class AA playoffs. The following day, defending Class B champion Bigfork fell to Malta 42-0, ending the Vikings’ five-game playoff winning streak dating back to last season.

Malta, officially Malta/Whitewater/Saco, advances to the Class B semifinals to face Ronan, which defeated Baker 14-9 in the quarterfinals and Sweet Grass County 47-14 in the first round. The winner of that game, scheduled for Nov. 12 in Malta, will move on to play the winner of Fairfield and Missoula Loyola Sacred Heart in the championship. Bigfork beat Fairfield 24-21 in last year’s Class B title game.

With the win, the Wolfpack move on the semifinals where they will square off against top-ranked Billings West on the road this weekend. Glacier (9-2) is the tournament’s fourth seed. West beat Flathead 39-7 in the first round to move to 10-1 on the season. Flathead finished the year with a 4-7 record.

Glacier junior quarterback Taylor Hulslander threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns on 13-of-17 passing in the victory over Senior. Both of his touchdowns went to junior receiver Kyle Griffith, who finished with seven catches and 114 yards. Running back Aaron Mitchell ran for 114 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

The Wolfpack have made it to the Class AA playoffs three straight years after compiling a 2-18 record their first two years as a program. Glacier lost to Billings Skyview 28-14 in the first round in 2009 and then fell to Helena 48-16 in last year’s opening round.

Glacier finished the regular season with the best scoring offense in the state, averaging 36.3 points per game. West’s defense allowed only 16.6 points per game, third best in Class AA behind Helena Capital (11.4) and Helena High (13.9). Capital, ranked second, and Helena, ranked third, square off in the other semifinal game this weekend.

Other Northwest Montana teams that qualified for the playoffs include Eureka, which lost 48-8 to Missoula Loyola Sacred Heart in the first round of the Class B playoffs on Oct. 29, and Whitefish, which lost to Stevensville 52-19 in the first round of the Class A tourney on Oct. 28.

The Polson Pirates, who earned a first round bye in the Class A playoffs after winning their conference during the regular season, lost to Miles City 7-6 at home on Nov. 5. Miles City advances to the semifinals against Billings Central on Nov. 12 in Billings. The other Class A semifinal game pits Havre against Dillon.

In Class C six-man, Geraldine/Highwood plays at Denton in one semifinal matchup and Big Sandy travels to Savage in the other semifinal game this weekend. In the Class C eight-man semifinals, Twin Bridges plays at Ennis and Chinook plays at Fairview.

All championship games for Class AA, A, B and C will be played the following weekend on Nov. 18-19. For updated brackets, visit the Montana High School Association’s website at www.mhsa.org.

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