Hawks have joined the fight
For several years now, the Chinook Sugarbeeters and Chester/J-I Hawks have been the only two, Class C 8-man football programs on the Hi-Line.
That's made their games over the last few years quite special, because it's really the only rivalry game for either school that's in proximity to each other.
Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton
Eric Kelly rushes the ball during a game between the C/JI Hawks and the Sunburst Refiners.
Now, in a season when the Beeters and Hawks look like the two best teams in the Northern C, they won't even get to play each other in the regular season. The Northern C once again expanded and split into two divisions this season, and while teams from each division play each other still, the Hawks and Beeters are not scheduled to meet this season.
And it's too bad because C/J-I has certainly joined the fight this season.
While Chinook romped to the Class C state title a year ago, the Hawks did make the playoffs. And Chinook is still romping through the regular season, but so is C/J-I. The Hawks are undefeated, ranked No. 7 in the state and have beat their opponents by an average of 23 points per game. Last week, the Hawks avenged a loss to Fort Benton by trouncing the Longhorns 50-12 on their home turf.
C/J-I was young and talented a year ago, but this year, they are just flat-out talented. Players like Leonard Pugsley and Jordan Oraw as well as a big offensive line give C/J-I a powerful running game. The Hawks also have great athletes like Erik Kelly and others playing both ways and that has added up to a great start to the season.
This week, the Hawks will try to move to 4-0 when they take on Tri-Cities at home. And while there isn't a rivalry game with Chinook looming in the next month, there's always the playoffs.