Bozeman High School’s football team will be in Kalispell for a Class AA semifinal football game tonight.
Kickoff will be at 7 o’clock despite the winter storm that blasted Montana. The Hawks braved the 308-mile bus ride on the snowy and ice roads.
Great Falls Rustle, though, can’t make the 155-mile ride to Butte for a playoff game with the Bulldogs. That game will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday, when the forecast calls for sunny skies, 80 degrees and safe, dry roads.
The Rustlers said their bus company won’t make the trip today in such dangerous conditions.
That sure sounds like a believable story, especially in this sue-happy age we live in. It’s also probably a story that is 100 percent true. The Rustlers want to play the Bulldogs as badly as the Bulldogs want to play the Rustlers.
Just because nobody I know ever heard of a playoff football game being postponed before doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen all the time.
However, I am not buying it for one second, and neither should you, Bulldog fans.
CMR coach Jack Johnson has been coaching for a long, long time, and he knows he has never seen anything like Naranche Stadium before. He’s never seen a stadium where the crowd can force penalties on a Wing-T offense like it did last week to Billings Skyview.
Johnson knows he’s not ready for Naranche on a playoff Friday night.
Naranche is good for at least a seven-point home field advantage for the Bulldogs, maybe more. And Friday’s postponement — a move that Butte High can’t possibly fight — is nothing more than a ploy to cut into that crowd.
It’s the coaching equivalent to Alex Rodriquez slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s hand in the 2004 ALCS. Yep, this “postponement because of weather” reeks of Bush League.
Saturday afternoon crowds are not the same in high school football. They’re not nearly as big or boisterous as they are on Friday nights.
That’s why every school in the country is trying to put lights up at their fields. That’s why there was a book, movie and TV series named “Friday Night Lights.”
People in Montana like to go hunting on Saturdays in November. They like to go to Bozeman to watch the Bobcats or Missoula to watch the Grizzlies. They like to watch college football on TV.
So, Bulldog fans, it’s up to you to make sure Coach Johnson doesn’t get away with it.
Put your Saturday plans on hold and go support the Bulldogs. Even if you weren’t going to go to tonight’s game, make sure to get up to Naranche tomorrow. The gates open at 11:30 a.m.
The Grizzlies are off, and the Bobcats don’t need your help to beat Portland State. The only TV game of any importance — Notre Dame vs. Boston College — is at night.
So, let’s try to double the capacity of 4,200 at Naranche. When you’re there scream and scream and scream. Ring your cowbell or whistle. Do whatever you can do to make Naranche as loud as Washington-Grizzly Stadium, and then some. If it isn’t already.
Make sure the Bulldogs have the best crowd advantage in the history of high school football field.
Coach Johnson is betting that you’ll have better things to do on Saturday.
It’s up to Bulldog fans to prove that he is wrong.