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George Ferguson Column: For Chinook Saturday was the stuff of legends


The weather is nasty out. It almost looks and feels like winter has been here for months already.

And while it's been said by many traditionalists that football is a game that's supposed to be played in cold, snow, mud and ice, and not indoors or on warm, sunny days, this weekend was a bit much.

And that's precisely another reason why what the Chinook Sugarbeeters accomplished Saturday will forever be etched into Hi-Line football lore.

When the Beeters beat Wibaux 74-6 for the Class C state championship Saturday afternoon in Chinook, they did it on a day, and on a field which goes well beyond traditional football conditions.

With temperatures barely above zero, wind chills well below that, a field that was frozen solid, wind blowing and snow falling, it's a wonder anyone even scored.

Saturday's game wasn't the first to be played in such conditions and it won't be the last, but the way the Beeters went up and down the field, scoring almost at will is unheard of in such terrible conditions.

But that's just another part of what makes Chinook's state championship so remarkable.

The Beeters weren't just good on Saturday and they weren't just an offensive juggernaut, one in which Wibaux, which was no slouch itself couldn't stop — the Beeters were mentally tough too. You have to be to not just exist, but to play at such a high level in conditions like that.

Chinook had to be focused, have a high level of concentration and shrug off things like snow flying in helmets, stinging hands and the pain of hitting the frozen turf when tackled.

And the Beeters obviously did all of that and more, and they deserve to be praised for their pure determination, their focus and their toughness, as much as they do for scoring 74 points and beating a very good Wibaux team.

I've stood outside in conditions like that before, even watched football games in such horrible conditions, and the last thing I would want to do is run head on into another person, knowing I could be slammed into the ground.

Just slipping and falling onto a frozen football field in temperatures like that hurts to think about it right now.

But none of that mattered to Chinook on Saturday.

All of the players on the Chinook football team had an opportunity to do something special, they had an opportunity to make history and to give themselves and the town of Chinook a moment in time that will never be forgotten, and weather wasn't going to stand in their way, just as much as the Longhorns weren't going to get in their way.

In other words, from Ben Stroh's first kickoff return for a touchdown to the final gun Saturday afternoon, Chinook was not going to be denied its place in history, and not even Mother Nature herself was going to interrupt that.

And as impressive as Chinook was, the way the Beeters played Saturday would be historic in any conditions, it's even more historic and impressive that the Beeters did what they did in the conditions they had to play in.

A state championship is something that will live forever, but how Chinook won and in the conditions the Beeters won their state championship is the stuff legends are made of.

Congratulations Chinook. Saturday will never be forgotten.


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