Forget the score; 8-man title game was football at its purest

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  • Fans of the Clark Fork Mountain Cats football team cheer on the team that consists of players from Alberton and Superior.

  • 1

    Senior class members of the Clark Fork Mountain Cats football team display the silver trophy after Saturday’s state title game against Fairview. See stories and photos on A4 and A5. (Chuck Bandel/Mineral Independent)

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    The Clark Fork Mountain Cats football team shows off its runner-up trophy Saturday following the state championship game. (Chuck Bandel photos/Mineral Independent)

  • Fans of the Clark Fork Mountain Cats football team cheer on the team that consists of players from Alberton and Superior.

  • 1

    Senior class members of the Clark Fork Mountain Cats football team display the silver trophy after Saturday’s state title game against Fairview. See stories and photos on A4 and A5. (Chuck Bandel/Mineral Independent)

  • 2

    The Clark Fork Mountain Cats football team shows off its runner-up trophy Saturday following the state championship game. (Chuck Bandel photos/Mineral Independent)

For everyone involved in Saturday’s Montana 8-man football championship game at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, it was an example of football in its purest form.

No players whining about new contracts. Acts of sportsmanship that are sadly lacking in so many aspects of sports today. Talented young players, giving it their all, many of whom played both offense and defense for 48 minutes. Loving the game and the chance to play.

For the Clark Fork Mountain Cats, despite the lopsided loss, this was the culmination of an amazing season.

Many, if not all of the Cats had never played on the sparkling green field turf surface at Rocky’s Herb Klindt Stadium. The host college, along with excellent work by Montana High School Association officials

like Park City’s Matt Hogemark, put together a show befitting a championship event.

Fans on both sides of the game filled the stadium’s bleachers and lined the perimeter of the field, cheering on their hometown heros.

In the end, Fairview had too much firepower, but the support from the towns of Superior and Alberton and their respective school’s staff and administration was a thing of beauty.

As for the broken-hearted Mountain Cats, the pain of the loss will eventually be replaced by memories of a 12-win, 1-loss season.

This was a team that played hard and fast all year long. They talked to a player about the importance of leadership and working together as a team.

They were respectful of their opponents, whom they systematically dispatched Friday after Friday.

The played the game the way it is supposed to be played. They respected injured opponents by kneeling quietly while others attended to them.

They extended a helping hand to opponents they knocked down.

The coaching staff, led by head coach Jeff Schultz and assistant coaches Charlie Crabb, Matt Doughty and Travis Stroot were top-notched in every phase of coaching.

Their teaching and organizational skills were unmatched.

These guys ran a first-class operation and guided the players to a lifetime of memories.

Hats off to the players, coaches, administrations and staffs of these two excellent Montana education institutions and to the loyal group of fans who showed up in all kinds of weather conditions to cheer on their boys!

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