SIMMS — This Friday night the undefeated Fort Benton Longhorns will take on the undefeated Simms Tigers for a battle of the unbeaten.
With both teams having clinched the top spots in the 8-man football north division, the game on Friday doesn’t matter on paper but what will matter is the northern divisional championship the following week where they will play each other again.
“It doesn’t matter but it means a lot and I think you have to go into it with an attitude of common sense but at the same time, you never play to lose,” Simms head coach Jay Frederickson said.
“Probably if you spend a lot of time thinking about that it can become complicated how you plan for that but you know us football players we’re not too complex so just line up and play man,” Fort Benton head coach Jory Thompson echoed.
No matter what the game means on paper, both teams are preparing for war as there is a lot riding on the two games. Both teams are known for their ground attack as well as their physicality at the line of scrimmage.
“We don’t run a lot of tricks we just run it and run it hard and on defense we hit people and we hit them hard,” Fort Benton senior Tim Ball explained.
“It’s going to be some fun games to watch and that’s about it,” Simms senior Mikey Leach reassured. “We’re going to be hitting people. It’s going to be back and forth who can hit the other team the hardest.”
For the 6-0 Simms Tigers, the trust they’ve put in Coach Frederickson, who is in his second year as the head coach, has been huge. That, along with the intensity that they practice and play with have allowed for big strides in the program.
“The book on us hasn’t been written yet. The book on last year was last year and I’ve been really proud of that approach, been proud of the unity and been proud of how we’ve grown,” Coach Frederickson said.
On the other side for the well-established Fort Benton program under Coach Jory Thompson, they’ve lost in the state semifinals the last two years so their motivation stems from wanting to get over the hump this season.
“We lost a lot of great guys last years, a lot of seniors,” Fort Benton senior Andrew Ballantyne said. “But I think in everyone’s mind we’re still here we’re still a great team and we’ve still got the same goals we’ve had the last few years and we’re just going to finish it this year and go all the way.”
The regular season matchup between the two teams will be at Simms High School this Friday night at 7 p.m. while the Northern Divisional 8-man football championship game will be at Fort Benton Saturday, Oct. 16.