The Wildcat football team will begin its state title defense at home Friday as Columbia Falls hosts Hamilton in a rematch of last season’s Class A state title game.
The Cats beat Hamilton twice last season, 23-20 in an opening-night thriller and 26-14 in the state title game in November, but both teams will be fielding drastically new teams in 2018.
At the helm for the Wildcats this season will be senior quarterback Drew Morgan, who replaces All-State QB Austin Green. The Cats also lost six other All-State selections from last year’s squad, including Logan Kolodejchuk, Hayden Falkner, Jacob Hagen, Kyler Koski, Ben Windauer and Devron Harris.
The Cats do return three All-State selections from last year’s squad: guard Gage Karlin and inside linebackers Colton McPhee and Tanner Gove.
The Broncos top returning player is All-State quarterback Carson Rostad, who will be joined by All-State corner Cameron Rothie. Hamilton lost three All-State players from last year: wide receiver Tyler Chouinard, running back Bridger Bauder and center Zach Fussell.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Satterthwaite Field.