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New-look Northern C shakes out this weekend


October 11, 2017

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Kendall Windy Boy and the Rocky Boy Stars have a big rematch with Hays-Lodge Pole, set for Saturday in Hays. The Stars beat the Thunderbirds 99-96 last month in a wild affair. The game is part of the Northern C's seeded-playoff weekend.

On the Hi-Line and across Northern C 8-Man football this weekend, a new system will get its first test.

With the Northern C expansion this last year, the league is now playing its final week of the regular season with crossover games which, for some, will send the top four teams that will get into the Class C 8-Man playoffs.

All teams in the Northern C will be playing crossover games this weekend, but only a handful have playoff implications. At the top, Belt's home game with Centerville Friday night will determine the Northern C championship. Both teams are 5-0 in their respective sub-divisions, but the Huskies are undefeated at 7-0, while the Miners, who are having their best season in years, are 6-1 overall. But Belt, coached by former Chester standout Jeff Graham, certainly has the upper hand.

Closer to home, the biggest Northern C showdown of the weekend will come Friday night when the Fort Benton Longhorns, who just three years ago, didn't even field a varsity football team, will try to punch their ticket to the playoffs when they host the Choteau Bulldogs. The Longhorns went 4-1 in the B Sub-Division, while Choteau, playing its first year of 8-Man, went 3-2 in the A Sub-Division. A win by the Longhorns would assure them of a playoff berth, but, a loss could see the Longhorns on the outside looking in. That's because Great Falls Central's home game with Cascade is also a big one. The Mustangs went 6-1 and 4-1 in the A Sub-Division, and a win over the Badgers, who are also still mathematically in the playoff hunt, would propel them into the No. 2 spot in the final Northern C standings. So that's another big matchup on the slate Friday night.

Back on the Hi-Line, Chinook and Chester-Joplin-Inverness will battle for a second time this season. In the second week of the season, the Beeters squeaked out an 18-16 win over the Hawks, and another win Friday night, would give the young Beeters a 4-4 to end the season. Both Chinook, and CJI, which has come on strong as of late, finished 2-3 inside their sub-divisions.

Another rematch of interest Saturday has Rocky Boy traveling to Hays-Lodge Pole. In one of the wildest football games of the entire high school season, the Stars beat the Thunderbirds 98-96 in overtime. The win pushed Rocky Boy to a 2-0 start, its best start in three decades. Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds, in their first year back in the Northern C, are still searching for their first win of the season.

The last crossover matchup also invokes a Hi-Line team, as Box Elder and Simms meat Saturday in Box Elder. Both squads sit at 1-6 on the season, and the game should be an exciting one.

As for how things play out, Friday and Saturday will determine the four teams who are headed to the Class C playoffs, which start Oct. 28.


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