SIDNEY — Montana high school football is not for the faint of heart.
Imagine you’re the Sidney High School football team.
After a 1-3 start to the season, the Eagles reeled off three wins over Havre, Lewistown and Hardin to close the season and clinch the No. 4 seed out of the East in the Class A playoffs.
Plenty of reason to celebrate! But not a lot of time to do it. For their efforts, the Eagles earned a first-round trip to face the top-ranked and undefeated Hamilton Broncs. And if that task weren’t daunting enough, the team has to travel 588 miles, one way, to get there.
That’s a journey that Google Maps estimates will take 9 hours, 36 minutes by car. Bus travel can be considerably slower, and that’s before you factor in pit stops, practice time, unpredictable weather and whatever other obstacles a long Montana road trip can throw at you.
Sidney’s journey is an outlier compared to the rest of the road trips that high school teams are up against this week, but it’s certainly not unusual. Montana is a big state.
St. Cloud, Minnesota is actually closer to Sidney (584 miles) than Hamilton (588 miles).
On the opposite side of the spectrum are the Columbus Cougars, who own the shortest playoff road trip in the state, just 44 miles down the road at Red Lodge.
Check out the tables below for complete distances and travel times for Montana High School Association football playoff games as calculated by Google Maps.
|Butte at Helena Capital||76 mi||1 hour, 32 mins|
|CMR at Bozeman||186 mi||3 hours, 10 mins|
|Skyview at GFH||215 mi||3 hours, 32 mins|
|Big Sky at Glacier||117 mi||2 hours, 17 mins|
Average distance: 149 mi
Average travel time: 2 hours, 36 mins
|Sidney at Hamilton||588 mi||9 hours, 36 mins|
|Frenchtown at Laurel||345 mi||5 hours, 12 mins|
|Columbia Falls at Billings Central||431 mi||6 hours, 55 mins|
|Miles City at Dillon||400 mi||6 hours, 0 mins|
Average distance: 441 mi
Average travel time: 6 hours, 54 mins
|Columbus at Red Lodge||44 mi||0 hours, 48 mins|
|Glasgow at Eureka||464 mi||7 hours, 45 mins|
|Colstrip at Manhattan||283 mi||4 hours, 12 mins|
|Bigfork at Malta||355 mi||6 hours, 1 min|
|Missoula Loyola at Fairfield||146 mi||2 hours, 25 mins|
|Whitehall at Shepherd||219 mi||3 hours, 14 mins|
|Conrad at Florence||223 mi||3 hours, 43 mins|
|Huntley at Townsend||221 mi||3 hours, 25 mins|
Average distance: 244 mi
Average travel time: 3 hours, 54 mins
|St. Ignatius at Fort Benton||246 mi||4 hours, 3 mins|
|MonDak at Joliet||395 mi||6 hours, 19 mins|
|Belt at Flint Creek||154 mi||2 hours, 40 mins|
|Ennis at Fairview||475 mi||7 hours, 19 mins|
|Ekalaka at Park City||283 mi||4 hours, 13 mins|
|Superior/Alberton at Shelby||280 mi||4 hours, 22 mins|
|Cascade at Scobey||385 mi||6 hours, 25 mins|
|Simms at Thompson Falls||234 mi||4 hours, 2 mins|
Average distance: 307 mi
Average travel time: 4 hours, 54 mins
|Harlowton/Ryegate at Froid/Medicine Lake||350 mi||5 hours, 35 mins|
|Bridger at Big Sandy||299 mi||4 hours, 52 mins|
|PDB at Shields Valley||168 mi||2 hours, 44 mins|
|Savage at White Sulphur Springs||378 mi||5 hours, 49 mins|
Average distance: 299 mi
Average travel time: 4 hours, 45 mins