Sports Xtra Blog

Sep 12, 2012 6:00 PM by Richie Melby

Sports Xtra Blog: 2012 State Football Predictions

Earlier this football season I posted my preseason blogs surrounding the Class AA and 8-Man football programs, breaking down a few teams and making semifinal and championship predictions. I hoped to have blogs of all five classes posted by now, making my predictions, but the crazy schedule has started to sink in, forcing me to write my predictions in one blog, right here.

Early season play actually hasn't changed my opinion on who I thought would win the championships (although my Class AA champion hasn't started like I expected).

Below is a quick breakdown of each class, with a few athletes to keep an eye on, followed by semifinal and championship predictions. Of course, each prediction relies heavily on where teams will finish in their respective conferences, as well as which side of the bracket they will wind up on, but it's fun to imagine the following match-ups none the less. (Feel free to make a case for your team, or another program you feel should be mentioned. As always, keep it clean).


Athletes to keep an eye on:
Gunnar Brekke - Capital RB
Taylor Hulslander - Glacier QB
Jess Stenzel - CMR DE
Trevan Timmer - GFH LB
Nolan Saraceni - Senior RB
Trace Alkire - West WR
Hunter Gappmayer - Bozeman RB

Semifinals - Glacier over Capital, CMR over Helena.
Championship - Glacier over CMR.

Glacier has been my pick since this summer when Taylor Hulslander, Kyle Griffith and company returned to the field and I won't change now (even if the Wolfpack is 1-2 this early season).


Athletes to keep an eye on:
Dylan Hanser - Billings Central LB
Ben Folsom - Dillon QB/S
Riley Sampson - Polson OL/DL
Thurman Holdsclaw - Havre RB/WR
Dylan Stenseth - Fergus RB/LB

Semifinals - Billings Central over Belgrade. Dillon over Laurel.
Championship - Billings Central over Dillon.

Seems easy to pick a rematch of last year's championship game, but it's hard to argue against the quality programs in Billings and Dillon. Coach Stanton and the Rams truly believed they were the best team in Class A last year and following a title-loss to the Beavers, the green and silver will avenge that in November 2012.


Athletes to keep an eye on:
Quinn McQueary - Manhattan QB
Kaden Bedwell - Malta WR/DB
Tyler Ollinger - Cut Bank RB
Sean Sullivan - Red Lodge QB
Bo Hughes - Loyola QB
Nick Drishinski - Fairfield WR

Semifinals - Malta over Bigfork. Manhattan over Cut Bank.
Championship - Malta over Manhattan.

Last year it was Fairfield and Manhattan we had our eyes on, this year the Mustangs take the Eagles place. From Kendall Denham to Tucker Schye to Reid Robinson I feel like Malta has too much firepower for most defenses. The Tigers can put up points in a hurry, but can they stop Malta from doing the same?


Athletes to keep an eye on:
Brock Schriver - Fairview QB
Cody Vitt - Fairview RB
Erik Kelly - CJI RB/LB
Robby Klingaman - Chinook FB/LB
Tra Ludeman - Charlo QB
Adam Kay - Superior RB

Semifinals - Fairview over Ennis, Superior over CJI.
Championship - Fairview over Superior.

Schriver, Vitt, Reynolds, Andreason...the list goes on and on for the Warriors. This school has a serious shot to win football and basketball championships this school year.


Athletes to keep an eye on:
Trevor Lackner - Big Sandy QB/S
Wyatt McKinlay - Geraldine/Highwood RB
Mike Gray - Hot Springs RB
Todd Myrstol - Alberton RB
Shad Schaak - Hysham RB/LB
Buster Kern - Fromberg/Roberts DE

Semifinals - Big Sandy over Hot Springs, Hysham over Fromberg/Roberts.
Championship - Big Sandy over Hysham.

I was high on Hot Springs a year ago (in fact during our statewide podcast through I continually picked the Savage Heat) and we got a first-hand look at the team when they thumped Geraldine/Highwood earlier this season. They didn't lose a single athlete (I'm told) from last year's quarterfinal team and seem to be the big favorites in 2012. So of course that means I'm going a different direction. Big Sandy coach Greg King has all kinds of athleticism in Trevor Lackner and Jessey Bailey, while it doesn't hurt to have seniors like Kaden Beck, Lane Martin and Zac Leader. The Pioneers may earn another title for their sports-loving fans.

Five classes, 20 semifinal predictions and just a matter of weeks until we get there. Whether or not my insight and opinions will come true remains to be seen, but I think I can speak for most football fans when I say the journey to State Championship weekend will provide plenty of excitement every step of the way.



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