For the past two season, the Charlo Vikings’ football team has found themselves in the championship conversation as favorites to capture the Montana High School Activities Association Class C 8-man football title.
The primary catalyst behind the success of the Charlo Vikings has been the play of their team’s QB Landers Smith. Smith is arguably one of the best players in the Class C 8-man format, and very arguably one of the best football players in the state of Montana, according to several area coaches.
Smith has accumulated the stats to make a case for himself.
During the 2016-2017 campaign, Smith accumulated a total of 1566 yards on 148 carries and scored 34 touchdowns. Smith threw for 1097 yards and scored 26 touchdowns.
Smith accounted for 427 points, including one receiving touchdown during the season.
In 2017-2018, Smith had 1381 rushing yards on 118 carries and scored 28 rushing touchdowns, eight passing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns. Last year, Smith accounted for a total of 228 points.
Charlo and Ronan will both begin their season under the lights in what has become the annual tradition called “Midnight Madness” Friday morning one minute after midnight to begin the first official day of Montana High School Association football on Aug.10.
Mission High School football coach Tyler Murray has attributed Charlo’s success to the coaching staff’s commitment to winning.
“Coach Krahn does a great job along with Coach Peterson,” Murray said. “Their kids are all good athletes and are well-coached. You can count on them being good no matter who is on their team. We have good athletes and try to coach them to be super disciplined. Average is not good enough, we want them to be great. (Charlo) doesn’t accept average or good enough.”
Charlo fell short of their championship quest to Ennis in their 24-17 loss in the Class C 8-man championship in 2016 and they fell to Forsyth in the quarterfinals of last year’s MHSA Class C 8-man playoffs.
The Vikings began their preparation for the 2018 season with a full padded six games 8-man tournament this summer at Montana Tech.
“We were down a little bit from about 15 players or so at our camp that we went through but we brought 14 kids and pretty much everyone is returning after working out of state,” Krahn said in the previous interview. “We got six games in two days and that is about half of our season in the full pad and full contact camp.”
Headed into the season Krahn and his staff are still ironing out the logistics of their team.
“We have to shore up some spots and we’ve got kids that are working,” Krahn said. “It is interesting that you just never know where are you are going to be. In 8-man football, there is no prototypical lineman. Someone standing at 170 pounds can be effective with their speed and technique in 8-man and can be really successful using their athleticism. So far, our kids have been willing to do what they need to be successful. Getting good lineman and players that look and play like lineman will be one of our issues. During the season we might have to fill in spots and do some shuffling. It will be new because we will have a little experience on the line.”