Don’t fall for it Bulldog fans

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.

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83 Comments

  • Rustler Nation
    November 9, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Thank you for the bulletin board material. Bozeman drove to Missoula to break up their trip so their players were better rested and to get to the west side of the mountains. There is little or no snow over there. They didn’t brave anything to get there. If you bothered to look at the MT DOT Road Conditions page, you will see that the section between GF and Helena is listed as treacherous and emergency travel only. Getting to Naranche tonight doesn’t really classify as an emergency. It will be played tomorrow. It’s not the first game to be cancelled, and it won’t be the last. But to suggest kids safety and the safety of their supporters are secondary to you having a game on a Friday night is beyond unconscionable. You should be ashamed you even came up with this thought, and as a former journalist mysel, I am appalled at your lack of professionalism. See you Saturday afternoon.

    REPLY
    • Tracer Nitz@Rustler Nation
      November 9, 2012, 2:50 pm

      As a football player for CMR, I am very proud to be playing at this school. This shows how poor of sportsmanship you guys have. Our athletics program has a lot of class. I wish I could say the same about you.

      REPLY
  • Mark Simons
    November 9, 2012, 1:15 pm

    Wow.. This has got to be the most insane thing written today.. To put high school kids lives at risk because other than this football game there is nothing in Butte worth living for is almost criminal. You are already setting the excuses for when you lose. Hey here’s an idea drive to great falls and protest.. You might make it before tomorrow.. Not likely. Idiot.

    REPLY
  • Connor McAllister
    November 9, 2012, 1:23 pm

    This is insane. No football game is worth someone’s life. This sounds like an article written out of fear

    REPLY
  • Jeniffer Kessner Belk
    November 9, 2012, 1:27 pm

    Mr. Foley, your article is nothing less than ludicrous. I-15 South between Great Falls and Helena is labeled as “severe driving conditions” with “reduced visibility” and “blowing and drifting snow” and “high winds.” You’re out of your mind if you think that Coach Johnson is the slightest bit afraid of a Butte crowd on a Friday night. In case you hadn’t heard, this ain’t his first rodeo. I commend Coach Johnson and the others involved in making this decision for putting the lives of our players, coaches, staff, and supporters first. You should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting anything otherwise.

    REPLY
  • Barrack Obama
    November 9, 2012, 1:46 pm

    What is this nation coming to. I dont even know someone tell me.

    REPLY

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