Columbia Falls High School’s football team was back on the same field, against the same team, where it won the state championship one year ago, but this time the result was very different.
Hamilton (11-0) ended the Wildcats (8-2) dreams of a repeat with a 41-27 win on Nov. 10, sending the Broncs into this weekend’s Class A title game.
Columbia Falls never led in Saturday’s state semifinal and began the second half down 21-7. Running back Colten McPhee ripped off a 33-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to bring the Wildcats back within a score, but Hamilton scored the next 20 points to put the game out of reach.
McPhee ran for three scores to lead Columbia Falls, including a 69-yard scamper in the first quarter that briefly tied the game at seven. The senior had a huge final year, averaging more than 10 yards per carry entering last week’s game.
Hamilton was responsible for both of the Wildcats’ losses this season, winning 35-24 on Aug. 31 in Columbia Falls. The Broncs will host Billings Central (11-0) for the Class A title on Nov. 17.
Bigfork also saw its season come to an end in the state semifinals, falling 48-14 at Fairfield on Nov. 10. The Vikings (9-2) led 6-0 after the first quarter before the Eagles erupted for 36 second-quarter points to take control.
Senior running back Randy Stultz ran for two touchdowns and 115 yards in a losing effort, and quarterback Anders Epperly threw for 104 yards. Fairfield outgained Bigfork 414-278 in the game, piling up 333 yards on the ground.
Fairfield (11-0) will travel to take on Missoula Loyola (11-1) for the Class B title.