Sunday, September 05, 2010

Autumn Habits, Ghost Teams and The Olive Garden

Highwood, Montana
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
Every year small town high school football comes and goes. And after it’s over—like Brett Favre—I’ve told myself and others that next year I’ll likely stay behind and only attend a game or two in the 100-mile radius of home. However, unlike Favre, there’s no million-dollar contract enticing me to travel the same distances as any previous year—not even the promise of gas money.

Perhaps my want or need to stay home has much to do with the fact that I’ve been almost everywhere in the two states of Montana and Wyoming when it comes to this genre of football.

So last week, I serendipitously obtained all the schedules for Montana Class C (six and eight-man) from the website of KPAX in Missoula. (BTW: kudos to KPAX for pulling all of these schedules together in such a thorough fashion.) It didn’t take long for me to spot a game here and there that I would like to attend. The next thing I know, there’s at least one game every week that I am eyeing up through mid-October. And not long after that, the playoffs begin.

Did I mention there are 27 teams playing six-man football in Montana this year—and another 36 teams signed up for eight-man play?

Obviously I’m hooked... again. And I haven’t even seen the schedules for Wyoming or a select few locations in Idaho that are realistically out of reach.

The truth is, I haven’t attended a game everywhere in these two states, but I have had time to survey almost every small town high school football setting (i.e., driving by any given gridiron during the off-season or on my way to another game somewhere else).

I suppose this means my work is not finished—not as long as teams change from one class to another or other schools introduce new teams in the stream of play.

Which makes me reminisce about a few schools/teams that have not fielded teams in years. Whatever became of the teams and players from Willow Creek, Belfry, Brockton, Box Elder? Are they teamed up with other schools in much the same way that resulted in Brady joining Power and Dutton or how Rapelje and Ryegate split to join Reed Point and Harlowton respectively?

Well, in case there’s anyone out there reading this that might wonder what I have in mind for this season, here’s my goals...

Power-Dutton-Brady: the Titans will also play a Saturday afternoon game in Dutton. Located off the Interstate 15 north of Great Falls, there’ll be no time for yard work on that weekend.

Fromberg-Roberts: this is about as close to home as I can get. About an hour drive. Though I’ve attended plenty of Fromberg and Roberts games in the past, these settings will serve as a reprieve from the typical hours of driving while still fulfilling my need to see a game.

Tri-Cities: That would be Hobson, Moore and Judith Gap—“Tri-Towns” might be a better name. One of their home games is scheduled for the gridiron in Moore on a Saturday afternoon instead of the usual dim-lit games in Hobson on Friday nights.

Great Falls Central Catholic: This is may be one of the few places in either state where you can witness a small-town football game in a good-size city like Great Falls. It may seem odd to the readers out there, but I’ve never been able to go to the Olive Garden immediately following a Class C football game. On a related note, I see Billings Christian is fielding a six-man team this year as well—providing another venue for small town football within a metropolitan setting.

Lastly St. Regis: Another lost weekend of driving for one six-man football game. This will be the Tigers first year of six-man football.

1 comment:

oopipip said...

thanks for effort on these football postings. some great photography too.