What I’ll be watching: Number of unbeaten teams do battle in Week 4

Great Falls Central’s Noah Ambuehl leading the Mustangs into battle. (ALEC BOFINGER/MTN Sports)

The high school football standings are top heavy thus far, featuring several undefeated teams through three weeks of the season.

Week 4 pits a handful of teams with unblemished records against each other, as well as a few high-profile conference games that will go a long way in determining playoff positioning.

Is Great Falls High a top-three team in Class AA? Is Roundup a serious contender for the Eastern B title? Can anyone in the 6-Man East challenge Westby-Grenora? Week 4 should provide some answers.

Class AA

  • Undefeated Great Falls High hits the road for its biggest test of the young season. The Bison face battle-tested Billings West at Daylis Stadium on Friday night. Both Great Falls High and Billings West appear to be playoff teams and contenders for the State AA title. The winner of this game will have the inside track to a home playoff game in November.
  • Kalispell Flathead was crushed at home last week by Billings West, and Missoula Sentinel suffered a devastating defeat in overtime at Great Falls High. Only one will be able to rebound this week, as Flathead hits the road to face Sentinel at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. This could very well be a make-or-break game in the season for the Braves and Spartans, who each sit at 2-1.

Class A

  • The middle of the Eastern A is extremely competitive. Laurel and Lewistown are 2-1, while Miles City sits at 1-2. However, Miles City defeated Laurel and lost by just one score to 3-0 Belgrade. Lewistown and Miles City square off Friday night to distinguish who could be a challenger to Belgrade and Billings Central in the Eastern A.
  • In the Western A, Hamilton and Columbia Falls have etched themselves among the favorites for the Class A state title. Browning hung tough with Hamilton in the first half last week before eventually being blown out by the Broncs. Browning gets another stiff test this week when it hosts 3-0 Frenchtown. If Frenchtown is a serious contender in Class A this season, the Broncs will need to make a statement against Browning Friday night.

Class B

  • Roundup is 2-0 this season and has averaged 55 points per game in large part due to Brody Grebe, who had seven total touchdowns in the Panthers’ win against Malta. The Panthers travel to Colstrip Friday night to take on the 3-0 Colts. Including Huntley Project, these teams are the class of the Eastern B. Roundup has a chance to stake its claim as one of the best in Class B with a road victory this weekend, while Colstrip can solidify its standing as a top team in Class B.
  • Bigfork is fresh off a blowout victory over conference rival Florence. The schedule doesn’t get easier for the Vikings, as they travel to Eureka Friday night to face the two-time defending Class B champion. This game will likely decide the Western B conference champion. Eureka has dominated the conference, and Class B, over the past two seasons, so this is a great test to see where both teams stand nearly midway through the season.
  • Townsend has been impressive so far in the Southern B, racking up a 3-0 record and lighting up the scoreboard. The Bulldogs travel to Manhattan Friday night to face the Tigers, who have been a perennial power in the Southern B. However, Manhattan sits at 0-3. With a win, Townsend can cement itself as the favorite in the Southern B and set itself up for a home playoff game.

8-Man

  • The 8-Man North is split into an ‘A’ sub-division and a ‘B’ sub-division. Great Falls Central and Choteau are the favorites in the 8-Man North A. Great Falls Central has been impressive early in the season, building a 3-0 record behind the play of quarterback Noah Ambuehl and a senior-laden roster. The Mustangs will have their hands full with Bulldogs quarterback Johnny Rappold and Choteau’s high-octane offense.
  • In the ‘B’ sub-division, Centerville has established itself as the frontrunner early in the season. The Miners are 3-0 and riding high after a big win over Simms last weekend, but they have another tough test Friday night in Chinook. The Sugarbeeters have rebounded well from their season-opening loss to Shelby, defeating Fort Benton and Cascade, and will look to upset one of the 8-Man North’s top teams this weekend.
  • Drummond-Philipsburg owns the 8-Man West and proved that with its win against Charlo last weekend. The race for the No. 2 team in the conference appears to be wide open. Alberton-Superior and Darby each sit at 2-1 in conference play as they prepare for battle Friday night. Five teams currently sit at 2-1 behind Drummond-Philipsburg, so this could be a big turning point in the season for both teams.

6-Man

  • Noxon hung tough with White Sulphur Springs last weekend, losing by just five points at home. The Red Devils have an opportunity to prove they belong on the short list of elite teams in 6-Man if they can knock off Hot Springs Friday night at home. The 6-Man West looks to be extremely deep and competitive. The winner of this game will be positioned well for a home playoff game, and they’ll stay alive in the conference title race.
  • Big Sandy had defending champion Westby-Grenora on the ropes in the first half last week but couldn’t slow the Thunder down in the second half. The Pioneers’ schedule doesn’t ease up, either. Big Sandy hosts Geraldine-Highwood Friday night in a battle of the 6-Man North’s top two teams. Geraldine-Highwood and Big Sandy are both expected to make deep playoff runs this year.
  • The 6-Man East has flexed its muscles early in the season. Wibaux knocked off Geraldine-Highwood to open the year, Westby-Grenora dominated Kaycee (Wyo.) in its season opener and ran past Big Sandy last weekend. Richey-Lambert is trying to make the jump into the upper echelon of 6-Man teams. The Fusion’s high-powered offense, which put up more than 100 points in the opening game, takes on Westby-Grenora Friday night. If the Fusion can find a way to slow down Thunder quarterback Darian Holocek, they’ll have a chance to knock off 6-Man’s top team.
Alec Bofinger

Alec Bofinger

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