Chiefs have two critical road games after loss to C-Falls

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    RONAN HIGH School sophomore quarterback Eric Dolence drops back to pass in the game against Columbia Falls Friday night at Ronan High School. Despite the 51-6 loss to the Wildcats, the Chiefs can still compete for a potential playoff spot if they were to win their final two road games against Libby and Browning. They would also need some help from Whitefish who plays Columbia Falls and Libby in their final two games of the season. Last season the Chiefs were eliminated in the quarterfinals in a loss to Whitehall. Ronan hosted its first playoff game since the early 90s at the end of the 2016 season. (photo by Jeremy Weber/Lake County Leader)

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    RONAN HIGH School sophomore quarterback Eric Dolence drops back to pass in the game against Columbia Falls Friday night at Ronan High School. Despite the 51-6 loss to the Wildcats, the Chiefs can still compete for a potential playoff spot if they were to win their final two road games against Libby and Browning. They would also need some help from Whitefish who plays Columbia Falls and Libby in their final two games of the season. Last season the Chiefs were eliminated in the quarterfinals in a loss to Whitehall. Ronan hosted its first playoff game since the early 90s at the end of the 2016 season. (photo by Jeremy Weber/Lake County Leader)

The Ronan High School football team lost its conference game to Columbia Falls 51-6 Friday night at Ronan High School.

Despite the loss, the Chiefs still remain in the playoff picture at the end of the year if they can win out their last two games against Libby and Browning.

The Chiefs will have to win their final two games on the road and hope that Polson loses one of its final two games against Browning and Columbia Falls, one of the top-ranked teams in the state, in order to have a chance to remain in the playoff picture.

Ronan holds the head-to-head tie-breaker with their 32-19 victory over Polson.

Last season, the Chiefs snuck into the playoffs after Anaconda defeated Deer Lodge. This allowed Ronan to host its first playoff game since the early 90s last season in their loss to Whitehall in the quarterfinals.

Bulldogs fall to Horsemen, eliminated from playoffs

The Mission High School football team’s 34-12 loss to Plains officially ended their chance to make the Class C, 8-man playoffs.

The Bulldogs found themselves down 20-0 early in the game and attempted to rally in the second half but weren’t able to establish enough momentum to overhaul the Horsemen.

“They scored 20 points in the first three minutes of the game and the fast start was pretty unfortunate that we started the game that way,” Bulldogs’ coach Tyler Murray said. “We came out in the second half and played pretty well but mentally we just weren’t ready to roll yet. That is my fault for not getting them mentally prepared to go. I just didn’t do a very good job of getting them ready for the game mentally and I take the blame. I should have had them ready to play that game.”

The Bulldogs will be enter the Western Divisional as the No. 4 seed and will play Clark Fork Saturday.

The two teams will play on Saturday because of the referee shortage.

“We want to end the season at .500 and reach that goal,” Murray said. “Our kids never quit and never give up and these next two games might not mean anything in the postseason play but we are playing for personal pride. We will do our best to improve and send our seniors out with a couple of wins and also prepare ourselves for next year.”

The final game will be a rematch of week one against Flint Creek.

In the first meeting against one of the top-tier teams in the state, the Bulldogs lost 58-0.

Despite losing by the significant margin, Murray said he is “looking forward” to playing a team that some experts predict could win the Class C, 8-man championship at the end of the season.

“I am really looking forward to playing Flint Creek again,” Murray said. “All year, they’ve been undefeated. They are a very talented and very physical team. We played them during the first portion of the year. We’ve played some tough teams since then including Charlo, Arlee and Plains and all of those teams are contending for playoff spots.”

Murray said he has a positive perception of his first-ever year as a head coach at the high school level.

“There is just a different vibe about football at Mission,” Murray said. “The kids are buying in and although they are getting ready for other sports, they are ready to hit the weight room in the summer. That football mentality is somewhat back at Mission and we have a lot of talent coming through the younger classes.”

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