Glacier and Helena both made valiant runs at the Class AA state football playoffs, but ultimately a very familiar storyline played out and, once again, the championship game will feature Billings West and Helena Capital.
A week after winning the first playoff game in school history, Glacier traveled to Billings and fell to West 45-16 on Nov. 11. The following day Capital shut out cross-town rival Helena 27-0.
Top-ranked West and second-seeded Capital will square off in the state title game on Nov. 18 in Billings. It is the fourth time the two teams have faced each other in the championship since 2005, with West winning the first meeting and Capital coming out on top in 2006 and 2008. They have combined to win 10 out of the last 15 Class AA titles.
Glacier finished the season with a 9-3 record, the best finish in school history. The Wolfpack figure to be in the mix again next year with a host of starters returning, including quarterback Taylor Hulslander. The junior led all AA passers during the regular season with 2,463 yards and 24 touchdowns with only nine interceptions.
In the Class A semifinals, Dillon blew past Havre 56-14 and will meet Billings Central in the championship on Nov. 19 in Dillon. Central beat Miles City 14-3 to advance to the title game. The two schools met in the 2007 championship with Central winning 28-13.
Central lost to Miles City 8-0 in last year’s Class A finals. Dillon is looking for its fifth Class A title since 2000 and first since 2006 when it defeated Frenchtown 35-14.
Fairfield and Malta/Saco/Whitewater will play in the Class B championship on Nov. 19 in Fairfield. Malta beat Ronan 31-27 in the semifinals, ending Ronan’s impressive run in its first year in Class B after dropping down from Class A.
Fairfield beat Missoula Loyola Sacred Heart to advance to the title game for the fifth straight year. The Eagles have lost each time, including a 24-21 defeat to Bigfork last year. The last time Malta made it to the final game was 2006 when it defeated Missoula Loyola.
In Class C eight-man, Fairview will host Twin Bridges in the finals on Nov. 19. Twin Bridges beat Ennis 26-7 to advance, while Fairview handled defending champion Chinook 36-16.
In Class C six-man, Denton hosts Savage in what could be an explosive championship showdown. Denton has scored 185 points in its three playoff wins, an average of 61.7 each game, and Savage has put 232 points on the board in its three playoff victories, an average of 77.3 per game.
Denton beat Lone Peak 87-0 in the opener, Stanford-Geyser 39-12 in the second round and Geraldine/Highwood 59-24 in the semifinals. Savage defeated Valier 92-8 in the first round, Hot Springs 75-30 in the second round and Big Sandy 65-41 in the semifinals.
When the two teams met in the championship last year, Denton prevailed 58-38.
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