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Nov 16, 2012 11:01 AM by Richie Melby - MTN Sports

Sports Xtra Blog: Picking the Football Champions

Two-a-days are in the books. Wintery weather has made its way to Montana. Pep rallies are tentatively being planned in 10 high schools across the Treasure State.

That's right friends, it's the final weekend of the fall sports season in Montana as our five classes of prep football prepare to crown State Champions this Friday and Saturday. Set to kickoff this weekend are some of the favorites from start to finish, while other teams have "snuck" their way into this late November by getting hot at the right time.

Back in the beginning of the season I made my annual "Preseason State Champion Picks" and did surprisingly well so far, with 7 of the 10 teams playing this weekend. Will my predictions come true or did I pick against the champs?
Below are my preseason picks along with my new thoughts on this weekend's games. Good luck everyone!

Click on this link to listen to myself, Slim Kimmel and the boys at Montana SportsCast as we break down each of the prep football games this weekend:


Preseason pick: Glacier over CMR
Current pick: Bozeman over Butte

The Bulldogs are the EASY pick in this one, playing at home in intimidating Naranche Stadium, Dallas Cook establishing himself as one of the top players in all of Montana, and the momentum from last week's monster overtime win against CMR. So, naturally, I'm going with Bozeman. Coach Purcell has Will Weyer back at QB and the Hawks have won two straight playoff games on the road. Hawks win a close one.

Prediction: Bozeman 27, Butte 21


Preseason pick: Billings Central over Dillon
Current pick: Billings Central over Dillon

This one seemed like a lock to me (and many others) in the preseason, giving fans a rematch of last year's title game. Central knocked Dillon around back in September, winning 38-17. The Beavers did spend much of that game without all-everything stud Ben Folsom, but even with his return this go-round, I still have the Rams breaking their 4-game losing streak in the State Championship.

Prediction: Billings Central 35, Dillon 24


Preseason pick: Malta over Manhattan
Current pick: Malta over Missoula Loyola

Two of the top teams all season long. Both undefeated. Great defenses lead to consistent offense. Should be the best game of the weekend (Cat/Griz included) between the Mustangs and Rams. I expect Malta's defense to hold late in the 4th quarter, giving the Mustangs and Coach King another title.

Prediction: Malta 24, Missoula Loyola 21


Preseason pick: Fairview over Superior
Current pick: Fairview over Superior

After last year's championship loss, it seemed a sure-fire bet Fairview would be back in this game in 2012. I was high on Superior all season long and it paid off in the end. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, even homefield advantage won't slow down the Warriors. Schriver, Vitt & Co. come up with the win.

Prediction: Fairview 49, Superior 28


Preseason pick: Big Sandy over Hysham
Current pick: Big Sandy over Hot Springs

In the preseason I had Big Sandy and Hot Springs set to meet in the semifinals based on each getting 1-seeds, but the Pioneers earned the 2-seed based on the tiebreaker. There is no doubt in my mind Hot Springs is the best team on the 6-Man fields, but I chose the Pioneers in the beginning of the season and I will stick to my guns. Sandy pulls a stunner scoring with zeroes on the clock.

Prediction: Big Sandy 45, Hot Springs 44

For what it's worth, I'll dive into Cat/Griz by saying it seems too ironic to me that everyone is picking the Bobcats (other than those die-hard Griz fans) but if memory serves me correct, MSU has only won TWO games in Washington Grizzly Stadium. It seems pretty obvious that the Bobcats have the better team on paper, they have had the better season and are playoff-bound. I hate to pick the popular vote, but I will take the Bobcats in a close one.

Prediction: Cats 27, Griz 17


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