GRANITE COUNTY – On August 25, a reporter asked Flint Creek Head Coach Mike Cutler what he thought about Butte’s Naranche Stadium and the 8-man Championship game being played there.
"I have no comment on the state championship game," he replied.
He might have more of a comment now.
His Titans make a return trip to the MHSA Class C 8-Man title game Saturday to defend their crown. They’ll be playing the Mustangs of Great Falls Central Catholic; a team that had never progressed passed the quarterfinals until this season.
Cutler continued, "What I can tell you is that the field here is awesome and the environment here is awesome. Fans are right on ya and I don't know that there is a high school stadium, at least not in this state, that matches the environment here."
Naranche Stadium has a unique and interesting history, which the Billings Gazette did a story on in 2014.
To view the Billings Gazette's article on
Naranche Stadium, Click Here.
Flint Creek played the Clark Fork Co-Op in the season opener as part of an 8-team showcase, handily defeating the Wildcats 50-16. The showcase was the brainchild of Ennis Athletic Director Paul Bills, who worked with Butte High A.D. Chuck Merrifield to get the games in Butte for the opening weekend.
The decision to create a neutral site venue for the championship was made April 9 by the MHSA board. While it was voted in by a majority 30-11, Cutler was not a huge fan.
“We voted against it,” said Cutler at the time. “After the experience we just had (last year), it’s just a great game and experience to have at home. I’m OK with it, but it’s just unfortunate.”
That playoff home experience was a football frenzy that encompassed an entire county as Flint Creek became the first-ever Co-Op to win a state football title. It united the communities of Granite County – specifically Drummond and Philipsburg. Now they’ll rally at home before making the hour trip to Butte for the game.
The MHSA’s decision also added to the 2017 Flint Creek season as they become the last 8-man team to win the title on their home turf, doing so at George Mungas Field at Granite High School. Saturday’s winner will get the honor of being the first champion of the ‘neutral site’ era.
In 2019, the championship will be played at Rocky Mountain College's Herb Klindt Field.