Columbia Falls, Bigfork Ranked Near the Top in Football Polls

By Beacon Staff

Columbia Falls, Bigfork and Glacier still rank among the top football teams in Montana.

The latest high school football poll was released Wednesday. Glacier moved down from third to fifth place in the Class AA ranks after a loss to top-ranked Bozeman last week. The Hawks limited third-ranked Glacier to two touchdowns and remained undefeated with a 27-12 victory.

Senior quarterback Will Weyer, a future Montana Grizzly, passed for 332 yards and two touchdowns and rushed in another TD to guide Bozeman to 3-0.

Evan Epperly kept the Wolfpack (2-1) in the game, scoring both of the team’s touchdowns. The senior receiver caught a 56-yard TD pass in the second quarter and rushed in for a four-yard TD in the fourth. He finished with 11 catches for 175 yards. Quarterback Brady McChesney completed 21 of 40 passes for 249 yards and an interception. Noah James led Glacier’s rushing attack with 69 yards.

Glacier is celebrating its homecoming festivities this week. The football team hosts Hellgate (0-3) at 7 p.m., Friday, at Legends Stadium.

In Class A, Columbia Falls moved up from fourth to third in the poll. The fourth-ranked Wildcats rolled past Browning 58-0 in a Class A nonconference game on the road. Stats were not available following the game.

Columbia Falls (3-0) travels to Anaconda (2-0) on Friday.

Whitefish fell out of the top five after a narrow defeat to fourth-ranked Belgrade. The Bulldogs nearly spoiled the Panthers’ homecoming game but fell just short, 21-19, in a nonconference showdown.

The Panthers (2-1) jumped ahead 21-0 in the first half, but Whitefish clawed back, scoring three straight touchdowns. Quarterback Luke May scored a 1-yard TD run, Sean Foley returned an interception 45 yards for the score and Caleb Thilmony added a 3-yard TD run. The 2-point conversion failed on the final TD.

Whitefish (2-1) hosts Corvallis (0-2) at 7 p.m. on Friday.

The Polson Pirates regrouped after a season-opening loss to dominate Corvallis, 28-6, in a nonconference game. Andrew Weltz scored on a pair of short runs to lead Polson (1-1). Brady Hislop scored on a 10-yard run and Jacob Clairmont added a 3-yard TD rush.

Polson travels to Browning (1-1) on Friday.

Josh Bauder passed for 371 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a score in Hamilton’s nonconference win over Libby, 24-21.

Libby’s Jared Winslow was 14 of 23 passing for 166 yards and two TDs with two interceptions. He also ran 24 times for 82 yards.

Libby (0-3) travels to Stevensville (1-1) on Friday.

In Class B, Bigfork jumped into No. 4 in the rankings. The Vikings are off to a dominating start to the football season. Fifth-ranked Bigfork rolled past Florence 20-0 at home last Friday, improving to 2-0 in Class B. Josh Sandry completed seven of 15 passes for 67 yards, rushed in for a TD and returned a punt 72 yards for another score. Boyd Rieke carried the ball 21 times for 95 yards and a TD. The Vikes defense held Florence to 110 yards of offense.

Bigfork hosts Ronan (1-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday.

The Associated Press Top 10 Montana high school football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, rating points and previous rankings:
Class AA
1. Bozeman (10) 3-0
2. Helena Capital (1) 3-0
3. Helena 3-0
4. Butte 2-1
5. Glacier 2-1
Others receiving votes: Billings Skyview 6.

Class A
1. Billings Central (7) 2-0
2. Dillon (4) 2-0
3. Columbia Falls 3-0
4. Belgrade 2-1
5. Anaconda 2-1
Others receiving votes: Sidney 29, Whitefish 18, Laurel 6.

Class B
1. Missoula Loyola (7) 1-0
2. Huntley Project (1) 3-0
3. Baker (1) 2-0
4. Bigfork 2-0
5. Townsend 2-0
6. Fairfield (1) 0-1
7. Glasgow Hinsdale Nashua 1-1
(tie) Malta 1-1
9. Jefferson (Boulder) 2-0
10. Shelby 2-0
(tie) Manhattan 1-1
Others receiving votes: Conrad 12, Colstrip 10, Forsyth 10, Deer Lodge 3, Eureka 2.

Class C 8-Man
1. Wibaux (2) 3-0
2. Ennis (5) 2-0
3. Charlo 3-0
(tie) Chester-Joplin-Inverness 3-0
5. Belt 3-0
6. Drummond 2-0
7. Superior 2-1
8. Bainville-Culbertson 3-0
(tie) Broadview-Lavina 2-0
10. Chinook 2-1
Others receiving votes: Shields Valley 6, Victor 3.

Class C 6-Man
1. Geraldine Highwood (6) 2-0
2. Westby-Grenora 2-0
3. Alberton-St. Regis 2-0
4. Hot Springs (1) 0-1
5. Savage 2-0
6. Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap 2-0
7. Jordan 2-0
8. North Star 2-0
9. Stanford Geyser Denton 1-1
10. Winnett-Grass Range 2-0
Others receiving votes: Big Sandy 13, Lone Peak 9, Lincoln 3, Terry 2.