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Tangling for a title: Billings Central, Laurel meet again Saturday

6th championship meeting between Rams, Locomotives
Laurel Central Cole.png
Posted at 2:43 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 16:45:14-04

BILLINGS - The dominance is staggering.

Billings Central and Laurel have combined to win Montana's last 13 State A girls soccer championships. Saturday will make it 14.

"It's a battle on the field. It's always a good game," Laurel forward Madi Peaton told MTN Sports. "There hasn't been a bad game between us."

"I think they come out and work just as hard as we do," Central defender Ava DeBourg said. "It really comes down to, on that day, who wants it."

No matter the sport -- youth league, high school, etc. -- a combined run of 14 straight titles is overbearing. And once again, the Locomotives and Rams couldn't be more evenly matched, now squaring off for the 6th time in this crowning match.

"Two teams that know each other really, really well," said Rams head coach Nolan Trafton. "I expect a good and exciting match."

This regular season, each team snagged a road win over the other by identical 3-2 finals.

Both have dangerous snipers — in fact, Montana top two. Abby Derbyshire has 32 goals this season for Central while Mya Maack recently set the all-class single season scoring record with 42 for Laurel.

Derbyshire netted three last weekend in the Rams' 5-1 semifinal win over Whitefish. Maack scored four in Laurel's 8-0 semifinal victory over Bigfork.

"We know what to expect," Maack said with noticeable respect for the rivals. "We know we've lost to them before, we know we've beaten them before, so what's it going to be? And, it's just so much more competitive when we play Central in the championship."

Derbyshire offered a mutual feeling.

"We're always prepared to play Laurel for the most part, but we'll definitely have to adjust a little bit knowing that we've lost to them. But we've also beaten them this season," she said.

The Rams own home field at Amend Park in Saturday's 10 a.m. clash. The Locomotives own Class A's last two girls championships.

"A 3-peat... I mean, it's an opportunity," said Laurel first-year girls head coach Tom Maack. "But nothing is going to be given to us."