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Hi-Line squads ready for round one of the playoffs

 

October 31, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The Big Sandy Pioneers are one of four local teams that will play in the Montana High School Association playoffs this weekend. The Pioneers are undefeated, ranked No. 1 and will host the Richey-Lambert Fusion in a Six-Man first-round game Saturday in Big Sandy. For full coverage of the playoffs, stay tuned to the Havre Daily News.

Saturday will be a big day for the likes of Bg Sandy, Fort Benton and North Star.

Big Sandy is back and ready for some more. After a tough loss late in the Six-Man playoffs last year, the Pioneers will look to go above and beyond and claim a championship title this season.

Big Sandy (9-0), has claimed the No. 1 seed in the Six-Man North and will look to continue its dominant run against the Richey-Lambert Fusion Saturday in Big Sandy. The Fusion are the East's No. 4 seed.

Richey-Lambert will have a tough task ahead of them, as Big Sandy has outscored every opponent they have faced this season and on top of that, have an offensive attack that has torched defenses throughout the year.

Plus, the Pioneers have a player that has made noise all season, senior running back Kade Strutz. Strutz is one of the leading rushers in all of Montana this fall. The running game for the Pioneers is something that many teams have fallen victim to when playing Big Sandy. For the Fusion, their defense will have to contain the strong-willed Strutz to gain an edge in the game.

The Pioneers meet the Fusion at 1 p.m. in Big Sandy.

After a tough 2018 season riddled with unfortunate injuries and a couple of forfeited games, the North Star Knights are back in the Six-Man playoffs.

With an 0-3 start, the Knights were looking to have another rough year, but a five-game win-streak followed suit and helped propel North Star to the postseason. But moving to the quarterfinals will not be an easy task, as the Knights will have to take down the East's No. 1 seed, Jordan. Jordan is the No. 2 ranked team in the state for Six-Man and has had a big year. With an 8-1 record, the Mustangs' only loss this season was to Big Sandy.

North Star head coach Shawn Rettig sees the game as a chance to prove his team can compete with the powerhouse Mustangs.

"They're tough, obviously," said Rettig. "They're the state runner-up from last year. They've got two kids, four Murnions, two of them are unbelievable, probably two of the best five athletes in the state. It's a definite challenge, but I think we're up to the challenge."

Rettig is familiar with Jordan's play-style, as well.

"They run a lot of spread and tight," said Rettig. "They've kind of manhandled most of the teams they've played this year from the North."

Jordan is definitely a talented group, but North Star boasts a great talent that has helped lead at the helm this year, senior Caden Rettig. Rettig has been a beast for the Knights all over the field this fall.

After last week's loss to Denton-Geyser-Stanford, Rettig is looking for a different result against the East's No. 1.

"We didn't put up a very good showing last week," said Rettig. "We just had some miscues. We're looking to hopefully give a good showing."

With a spot in the quarterfinals at stake, North Star (4N) will look to upset the Mustangs (1E) at Jordan Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Class C, 8-Man postseason also features a top seed from the area. The Fort Benton Longhorns, who have had a powerful season, open the playoffs at home Saturday.

The Longhorns are undefeated and have outscored most of their opponents all season to prove that they have what it takes to go all the way and after pulling away with the North title after beating Great Falls Central Catholic, Fort Benton is ready to keep it going.

Fort Benton's first matchup in the postseason is the East's No. 4 seed, the Culbertson Cowboys.

When it comes to the Longhorns, the offensive attack has proved bountiful all year. Running back Jace Thompson has had a great year on the ground and has torn up many defenses throughout the year. Thompson has led the team in rushing multiple games and will look to make another statement against Culbertson. Quarterback Garrett Diekhans also also been key.

Fort Benton's defense is stingy, too. In their first meeting with Great Falls Central, the Longhorns opened the game with a fumble recovery for a score as well as other major turnovers and key defensive plays that kept them ahead. Fort Benton will be a scary team to play at home.

But the Cowboys are the underdogs and what better motivation moving forward than a chance to topple the giant.

The Longhorns (1N) kick off against Culbertson (4E) Saturday at 1 p.m. in For Benton.

 

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