TERRY COLUMN: Rolling out rankings

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It’s that time of year again.

The best football teams in the state are starting to reveal themselves, which means its time for the first Daily Inter Lake Prep Polls of the year.

First, as a insight into how I come up with these rankings, I do personally hate your favorite team.

With that out of the way, it is still too early to tell if any of this is accurate. I don’t put out polls after the first two weeks of the year because it’d be too soon to figure out which teams are really among the best. After three weeks you can start to get a better sense of where trends are heading, though soft early schedules can play tricks with the rankings.

This early in the season, however, the rankings are less about what the teams will become and what they’ve done so far. The handful of teams at the top of the rankings are all undefeated and most have already beaten other top teams. The ones who haven’t faced top teams yet are lined up to play another ranked team in the next few weeks.

Billings Senior is leading Class AA as the only team that has won big against other top competition. Helena Capital and Bozeman have been good, but each has yet to face a team that currently has a winning record. Sentinel and Helena High round out the top 2-1 teams, though the back end of the top five could look starkly different next week.

Dillon is still the top team in Class A until it proves otherwise. The Beavers haven’t been flashy this season, but rarely ever are. Sidney has been lights out on defense, allowing fewer than 10 points a game, and Laurel has been one of the state’s best offensive teams. Corvallis looks like its young talent is starting to mature and Frenchtown holds down the final spot after its undefeated start to the year.

We’ll really get a sense of where Class B stands this week, with the biggest game in the state happening in Bigfork.

Eureka and Bigfork both have a claim to the top spot in the state, and get to settle it on the field this Friday in a game that will pit two of the deepest and most experienced teams in the state.

Fairfield is back as the kings of the North, and Whitehall has scored more points than any team other than Eureka this season. Townsend has also impressed early on, and Colstrip, Jefferson and Manhattan all are off to clean starts. Huntley Project, as always, will probably find its way up the list by the end of the season and Anaconda’s only stumble so far came against Bigfork.

As the season rolls along, and conference play gets started, more local teams will hop up the rankings. There doesn’t seem to be a runaway team yet in any class, which should make for a wide open season.

In Class AA, especially, most of the class looks to be fighting for six or seven spots in the playoffs, which will make for interesting matchups as the season rolls along.

Class AA

Team (Record) Last

1. Billings Senior (3-0) —

2. Helena Capital (3-0) —

3. Bozeman (3-0) —

4. Missoula Sentinel (2-1) —

5. Helena High (2-1) —

Class A

Team (Record) Last

1. Dillon (2-0) —

2. Sidney (3-0) —

3. Laurel (3-0) —

4. Corvallis (3-0) —

5. Frenchtown (3-0) —

Class B

Team (Record) Last

1. Eureka (3-0) —

2. Fairfield (2-0) —

3. Bigfork (3-0) —

4. Whitehall (3-0) —

5. Townsend (2-0) —

6. Colstrip (3-0) —

7. Jefferson (Boulder) (3-0) —

8. Manhattan (2-0) —

9. Huntley Project (2-1) —

10. Anaconda (2-1) —

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