Football Roundup: Bigfork, Columbia Falls Survive Playoff Games

Glacier, Flathead both headed for Helena for opening round of Class AA postseason

By Dillon Tabish

Postseason football has fully arrived for all five Flathead Valley teams.

Bigfork and Columbia Falls survived close matchups in the opening round of their respective playoffs while Flathead and Glacier secured seeds into the Class AA playoffs, which begin this week. Whitefish enjoyed a bye week before renewing their title pursuit this weekend.

Here’s a breakdown of the postseason:

Class AA

With a 49-28 win over Missoula Big Sky last Friday, Glacier (8-2) secured the fifth seed in the Class AA playoffs. The Wolfpack will travel to fourth-seeded Helena (8-2) and play Saturday, No. 7 at 1 p.m.

Helena defeated Glacier 23-17 in the first game of the season. The defending state champion Wolfpack have won eight straight entering the playoffs. Glacier has the top offense in the state, averaging 37 points per game. Helena has the ninth-ranked offense, averaging 20.7 ppg. Glacier’s defense is ranked fifth, allowing only 17.7 points per game on average. Helena ranks seventh, allowing 18.8 ppg.

Glacier quarterback Leif Ericksen ranks second among offensive producers this season, averaging 222 yards per game. Running back Thomas Trefney is the top back in the state, with 1,354 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Flathead (6-4) is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and boasts its best record since 2008, when the Braves also finished the regular season 6-4.

The Braves have a similar trip as Glacier and will travel to Helena to play third-seeded Capital (8-2) on Friday night. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Helena Capital edged Flathead 24-21 on Oct. 16.

Flathead has the third best scoring offense in the state, averaging 31.1 ppg. The Braves defense ranks fourth, allowing only 16.9 points per game on average.

Helena Capital has the seventh ranked offense, averaging 27.7 ppg, and third ranked defense, 14.1 ppg.

In other playoff action, top-seeded Bozeman (9-1) hosts Great Falls C.M. Russell (5-5) and second-seeded Billings Senior (9-1) hosts seventh-seeded Billings West (6-4).

»»» Click here to view the bracket.

Class A

Dakota Bridwell scored a touchdown in the third quarter that proved to be the game-winner as Columbia Falls edged Polson 9-6 in the opening round of the Class A playoffs on Oct. 31.

The Wildcats (5-3) advanced to the quarterfinal round and will play at Havre (7-2) this weekend. Brandon Karberg hit a 29-yard field goal in the second quarter to give Columbia Falls a narrow 3-0 lead. Hudson Smith caught an 8-yard TD pass from Tanner Wilson in the third quarter as Polson went ahead 6-3, before Bridwell scored on a 1-yard TD run that sealed the victory.

Whitefish (8-1) is back after a bye in the first round and hosts Sidney (7-3) on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs are trying to return to the state semifinals for the second year in a row.

In other playoff action, Butte Central travels to Miles City and Billings Central travels to Dillon.

»»» Click here to view the bracket.

Class B

Matthew Farrier scored his second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter to five Bigfork a 37-36 victory over Roundup in the opening round of the Class B playoffs on Saturday.

Farrier finished with 165 yards and the Vikings outscored the Panthers 15-6 in the second half.

Bigfork (6-3) advanced to the quarterfinal round against Missoula Loyola (7-1). The game will be at Rollin Field in Missoula at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7.

In other action, Malta hosts Huntley Project; Baker hosts Manhattan; and Fairfield hosts Colstrip.

»»» Click here to view the bracket.