The following is a complete list of fall 2014 Coach of the Year recipients for Montana high school athletics, as voted on by fellow Montana Coaches Association members.
All 21 honorees won their respective state titles this fall.
The tiny towns of Westby and Grenora straddle the Montana-North Dakota border way up near where the United State meets Canada. Hot Springs in western Montana may as well be in a different country.
The MonDak Thunder 6-man football team, which comprises players from both towns, traveled almost 800 miles for its Class C quarterfinal playoff game at Hot Springs on Saturday on a journey split up into three days.
The drive home is always a little easier when there’s a win in tow.
The last time that Matt Softich and Matt Johnson shared a football field, by the latter’s recollection at least, was somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 years ago.
And the field wasn’t in Missoula where both men coach high school football now — Johnson at Big Sky, Softich at Hellgate. That last time was in Anaconda when Johnson was quarterbacking the Copperheads as a prep player and Softich was his QB coach.
They’re back together at Missoula County Stadium when the crosstown foes collide Friday night.
Even a narrow loss couldn’t keep the Ronan football team down.
“You don’t ever want to say you’re happy when you lose, but come on,” Chiefs head coach Jim Benn said gesturing to his surroundings. “Getting to coach here and letting our kids have this experience, I mean I’m watching my quarterback take pictures with his parents on the field.”
The special location was Washington-Grizzly Stadium Saturday, which hosted the first Hometown Pride Classic series between high school teams in Montana and Idaho — an event as pleasing to its organizer as it seemed to be to the players, coaches and fans involved.
With the conclusion of Saturday’s championships in the Southwestern and Central A’s and Western B-C divisional softball tournaments, the state tournament brackets for Montana’s three high school sports classifications for spring 2014 are set.
Here are the first-round pairings for each, with tournament play beginning next Thursday in Great Falls and Polson:
If you had to pick a Florence softball player out of the lineup — not the criminal kind, the sporting one — the odds are pretty good you’d have just tabbed a Drozdz.
The Falcons have a rarity on their hands right now with a set of three sisters all in uniform, each of whom is contributing at the varsity level.
In January, the spotlight at Frenchtown High School turned away from the court and onto Libby boys’ basketball coach Wally Winslow before the Loggers’ Northwestern A matchup with the Broncs. Frenchtown coach Michael Botsford paid tribute to one of the league’s long-time leaders who planned to retire at season’s end.
“I look up to him,” Botsford said. “It’s the good one’s like that that you love coaching against.”
Botsford, who has coached against Winslow in some capacity for a decade-plus, presented the 16-year Loggers’ coach with a trophy before the road crowd roared and cheered.
As the old saying goes, everybody makes mistakes.
Anyone who’s ever worked in a news service knows this all too well — the embarrassing zing when an error makes it to the public’s eye is more common than any of us would like.
But not all reporter gaffes show up in newsprint. And I had a doozy two weeks ago while working on a story about Columbia Falls girls AND boys basketball coach Cary Finberg. Luckily, Finny came to my rescue.
Karen Deden racked her brain, trying to remember any time her Sentinel Spartan girls had rolled on such a run before.
“Maybe…,” the 14-year Sentinel head coach began before changing tracks, “but that wasn’t against AA.”
Any way you slice it, the Spartans’ 31-2 run against Western AA foe Kalispell Flathead on Saturday was one for the ages. The stretch leading into the first-half buzzer gave Sentinel a 37-7 lead and a definitive lock what would become a 53-25 victory.
But how did it all go down? Continue reading