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Twin Bridges To Play for Montana Football Championship


Twin Bridges High School Football Team, c. 1930.

I saw in today’s paper that Twin Bridges made it through the football semifinals and will play for the Montana Class C State Championship next week.

I’m not a sports fan, but when my high school alma mater plays for a state championship, it grabs my attention. In high schools like mine that’s rare event—something that happens every 50 years or so.

Twin Bridges plays in Montana’s Class C Athletic Division, which consists of high schools of about a hundred students. There are dozens of such schools in Montana so it’s hard to make it through the welter of playoffs to a state championship.

In these tiny schools nearly every able bodied male—even a clumsy one like me—is on the football team. Even so, it can be hard to field an eleven-man team. The solution: eight-man football with three backs and five linemen. With a larger fraction of players allowed to handle the ball and a smaller field, eight-man is a dynamic game. Some say it’s more fun to watch than eleven-man.

On Saturday, Twin Bridges beat Ennis in the semifinal 27 to 6. The highlights of the game must have been touchdown passes from quarterback Tyler Lott to Cole Miotke.  (Here’s the story from The Montana Standard.)

Lott and Miotke must be the grandchildren of people I went to school with. Lott is probably a descendent of the brothers who built toll bridges across the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers in the 1860s and founded Twin Bridges. The Miotkes are newcomers having arrived in the area about 50 years ago.

The continuity of communities like Twin Bridges is part of what makes their sports so intense.  If you’re on the team, people probably will compare you not just to your older brother, but also to your uncle, or maybe even your grandfather. I wonder if this year’s team includes any descendents of Twin Bridges football team that played for the state championship on Thanksgiving Day, about 1952.

I attended that game, but didn’t watch much of it.  A blizzard blew in the night before and temperatures hovered in the low teens on game day—with a stiff wind and blowing snow. It was so damn cold that I spent most of the game in the cab of my father’s truck.  He left the engine running and the heater on, so I got periodic reports from people who froze out and came to the truck to warm up.

I wish I could remember those reports.  I suspect the game was mostly just the two teams bashing at each other up and down the frozen field. It was too cold and windy to risk a passing game, but I like to think that my brother, who was an end, snagged a dramatic pass that cinched the game.

I wish this year’s team better weather and better luck this week.  Go Falcons! Beat Fairfield!

∞§∞

—  Photo from the Brooks Collection, Montana State University Libraries.

3 thoughts on “Twin Bridges To Play for Montana Football Championship

  1. Mark:

    I graduated in 1954. I remember a 1953? state championship game played on a winter day. It was cold and Dad took the flatbed one ton? Ford truck with a stove made of a 30 gallon drum in the back. It was quite cozy although the view was a little limited because of the high sides of the truck bed. Ronnie Page was our star quarter back. He could be counted on for a least 8 yards on any run. There was a steel T post fence around the field and the other team’s star player ran into a post early in the game, was injured, and was unable to play. Twin Bridges won by a large margin. Dad commented that it was too bad the other team did not have their star player.

    Dad wasn’t afraid to ignore convention and set up a warm place to watch the game.
    The truck was backed into the far side of the field for a good view of the game.

    William

  2. William —

    Thanks for the info. The Montana Standard says “Twin Bridges does have one state championship in football to its credit, though. The Falcons defeated Medicine Lake 45-12 in 1952 for the title.” I assume that’s correct.

    I corrected my post. It’s a good example of how our minds play tricks on us. I thought Robert was in that game.

    Also, it sounds like i’m wrong about the ineligibility problem. Probably I’m conflating a problem with the basketball team when he was a senior. I hope he’ll chime in.

    I do remember Dad parking the big truck (a two-ton, I think) on the north side of the football field.

    — Mark

  3. Mark,
    I did enjoy the well written story. I’m flattered by the reflection to 1955. We did have an undefeated season staring Dean Narancich as running back. I played end as you suggest and I was in many respects somewhat mediocre, except I could catch the ball. We won the divisional championship, but for some reason there was no competition beyond that level and of course no state champion. Obviously we would have added a second state championship for Twin given the chance.
    The bad news is in the middle of the following basketball season our quarterback, was determined to be over age and therefore ineligible. We were required to forfeit all football games and all basketball games to date. Officially the record book shows our football record was 0 for 12 or whatever. Because of the BBall forfeits we did enter the district basketball tourney with an almost win less record even though we did have very good team. We won the District and successfully challenged Superior at the Divisional for the right to go to the State tournament. We lost to Wibaux ( Who had Jim Owens a future star for the Bobcats) in the opening game. We did come back and won third at state.

    Robert

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