TERRY COLUMN: State football deserving of a celebration

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Northwest Montana will host a pair of state championships this weekend.

Itís a huge accomplishment for both Columbia Falls and Eureka, and if last year is any indication, the communities from both towns will show out in droves to support the Wildcats and Lions. If either wins, it would be the first football title ever won in their hometown.

Thatís a huge deal.

And it worked out this year.

If the same situation happened next season, thatís not likely to happen. With the way home field is rotated, earning a home playoff game is a rarity, let alone a state title game.

And as cool as it to get the once in a blue moon opportunity to host a state title game, under the current MHSA setup, there is one glaring downside.

Thereís not a single person playing or watching the state championship games on Saturday that will be able to watch the stateís biggest championship game: Cat-Griz.

The way the state currently positions its state title games, only Class AA plays its championship on the traditional Friday night, allowing its fans and players to go to the biggest college game of the season. Class A, B and both 8- and 6-man games are relegated to Saturday afternoon, kicking during the middle of the second quarter in the Brawl of the Wild.

It can be fixed, though.

It can be fixed simply by playing the state title games on Friday night, sure, but thereís a more spectacular solution.

Move all of the state title games to Friday night and play them all under the same roof. One big day of football at the stadium not hosting Cat-Griz.

Yes, it takes away the luster Columbia Falls and Eureka get this weekend of hosting a state title game.

However, it also takes away any field issues that may arise from playing in Montana in mid-November.

Those arenít issues this weekend at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, a venue big enough to hold such a spectacle in a city with enough lodging to accommodate its fans.

Itís also an opportunity to let kids play and get recruited in a stadium theyíll likely only ever step foot in as a fan afterwards.

Itís also an opportunity to let everyone whoís a fan watch the other big game.

Which should be a reward for everybody, including the stateís best prep teams.

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