High school football playoff picture coming into focus

The Big Timber football team poses for a picture during their 46-17 win over Townsend. (ALEC BOFINGER/MTN Sports)

The high school football playoffs are just around the corner. The Class A, Class B, 8-Man and 6-Man state playoffs start the weekend of Oct. 26-27, while Class AA kicks off its postseason the weekend of Nov. 2-3. All five championship games are scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 16-17.

For the 8-Man North, the playoffs actually start this week. That 13-team division, which is broken into two sub-divisions, begins its conference playoffs on Friday. Great Falls Central and Shelby, who have clinched places in the state bracket, will meet Friday to determine the North’s No. 1 seed. The loser will be the No. 2 seed. Centerville hosts Chester-Joplin-Inverness and Choteau hosts Chinook in other 8-Man North games with playoff implications. The winners of those two games will clinch playoff berths, while the losers will meet next week to determine the North’s fifth and final seed.

The rest of Montana’s football conferences are still in their regular seasons. Some teams have already clinched playoff berths and are now just fighting for seeding. Meanwhile, others still have work to do to guarantee a postseason trip.

There are dozens of potential playoff scenarios, but MTN Sports has outlined some of the easiest, most likely scenarios below. These are unofficial scenarios, but they should provide some light as to where teams are situated with two or three weeks remaining in the regular season.

Class AA

(Top eight advance to playoffs)

Bozeman — Clinched playoff berth; Clinches first-round home game with win
Billings West — Clinched playoff berth
Billings Senior — Clinches playoff berth with win over Missoula Hellgate
Helena High — Clinches playoff berth with win over Billings Skyview
Kalispell Flathead — Clinches playoff berth with win over Great Falls CMR

Class A

Eastern A

(Top six advance to playoffs)

Billings Central, Laurel and Lewistown — Have clinched top three seeds
Belgrade — Clinches playoff berth with win over Glendive
Miles City — Clinches playoff berth with win over Sidney

Western A

(Southwestern A champion, Northwestern A champion and four wild cards advance to playoffs)

Columbia Falls — Clinches Northwestern A championship with win over Whitefish

Class B

(Top four from each conference advance to playoffs)

Eastern B

Roundup — Clinches playoff berth with win over Red Lodge
Colstrip — Clinched playoff berth
Huntley Project — Clinches playoff berth with win over Shepherd

Southern B

Big Timber — Clinched No. 1 seed
Manhattan — Clinches playoff berth with win over Three Forks
Townsend — Clinched playoff berth

Northern B

Fairfield — Clinches No. 1 seed with win over Conrad
Glasgow — Clinched playoff berth
Malta — Clinched playoff berth
Cut Bank — Clinches No. 4 seed with win over Wolf Point

Western B

Missoula Loyola at Bigfork — Winner clinches No. 1 seed, loser clinches No. 2 seed
Eureka — Clinches No. 3 seed with win over Deer Lodge
Florence — Clinches No. 4 seed with win AND Deer Lodge loss

8-Man

East

(Top four advance to playoffs)

Fairview — Clinches No. 1 seed with win over Forsyth
Circle at Culbertson — Winner clinches No. 2 seed, loser clinches No. 3 seed (with Fairview win)

South

(Top three advance to playoffs)

Joliet — Clinched No. 1 seed
Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap — Clinched No. 2 seed
Ennis at Twin Bridges — Winner clinches No. 3 seed

North

(Top five advance to playoffs)

Great Falls Central at Shelby — Winner clinches No. 1 seed, loser clinches No. 2 seed
Chinook at Choteau — Winner clinches playoff berth
Chester-Joplin-Inverness at Centerville — Winner clinches playoff berth

West

(Top four advance to playoffs)

Drummond-Philipsburg — Clinches No. 1 seed with win over St. Ignatius
Charlo — Clinches No. 2 seed with win over Darby (with Drummond-Philipsburg win)
Arlee — Clinches playoff berth with win over Victor
Alberton-Superior — Clinches playoff berth with win over Plains

6-Man

(Top four from each conference advance to playoffs)

East

Wibaux — Clinched playoff berth; Clinches No. 1 seed with win over Richey-Lambert
Richey-Lambert — Clinched top-two seed; Clinches No. 1 seed with win over Wibaux
Jordan — Clinches playoff berth with win over Savage
Westby-Grenora — Clinches playoff berth with win over Froid-Lake

South

Grass Range-Winnett — Clinched playoff berth; Clinches top-two seed with win over Broadview-Lavina
Roy-Winifred — Clinched playoff berth; Clinches top-two seed with win over Bridger
Bridger — Clinched playoff berth
Shields Valley — Clinches playoff berth with win over Fromberg

North

Geraldine-Highwood — Clinches No. 1 seed with win over Denton-Geyser-Stanford
Big Sandy — Clinches playoff berth with win over Power-Dutton-Brady
Denton-Geyser-Stanford — Clinches playoff berth with win over Geraldine-Highwood
Sunburst — Clinched playoff berth

West

West Yellowstone — Clinches top-three seed with win over Noxon
White Sulphur Springs — Clinches playoff berth with win over Gardiner
Hot Springs — Clinches playoff berth with win over Valley Christian

Slim Kimmel

Slim Kimmel

Slim Kimmel is a Winnett native and has been with the MTN Sports team since 2016.
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