PHILIPSBURG –When Flint Creek Head Coach Mike Cutler went to hand out the MHSA pins commemorating their second straight 8-man football state championship, he found the only flaw in their otherwise perfect season.
The MHSA had sent the wrong pins.
Despite having jewelry that said “runner up”, the Titans celebrated their second straight title Tuesday night with an awards banquet at the Ranch at Rock Creek. Players, coaches and their families all joined for one last time to hand out awards and celebrate their accomplishments.
Flint Creek finished the 2018 season 13-0 with a commanding 50-14 win over Great Falls Central in the championship game at Butte’s Naranché Stadium. The victory was the 25th in a row for the Titans, dating back to the start of the 2017 season.
Bob Garlati, a board member of the Flint Creek Titan Co-Op, acted as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. After welcoming everyone he had the Flint Creek Courier’s Tim Allen play a season retrospective slide show set to music. The presentation included photos taken by both he and Brooks Phillips.
The night’s guest speaker was Drummond graduate and former NFL player Chase Reynolds. Reynolds was part of a three consecutive 8-man state championships for the Drummond Trojans from 2003 to 2005 and holds several records at the prep and collegiate levels in Montana.
Following Reynolds was Flint Creek Defensive Coordinator J.C. Holland. Holland spoke to the team about the year and the qualities that they learned and possess as a result of the season. Holland holds the unique mark of having been a coach on seven state championship football teams.
When Cutler retook center stage, he first took time to thank people who made significant contributions to the program. Among them were he and Holland’s wives – Jody and Shelle. Both Cutler and Holland acknowledged that their success in being the best football coaches they could be came at the result of sacrifices made by those two all season long.
The awards were next, starting with all 28 players earning a letter. Next were the All-Western Division honors. On offense the Titans landed eight players in: Kade Cutler, QB, 1st; Wyatt Rigby, C, 2nd; Colby Manley, RB, 1st; Kane Hess, OL, 1st; Riley Allen, OL, 2nd; Daniel Brabender, TE, 2nd; and Jaxon Lee, SR and Kick Returner, 1st both. On defense Flint Creek had seven players with: Hess, DL, 1st; Allen, DL, 1st; Manley, ILB, 1st; Rigby, DE, 1st; Luke Holland, OLB, 1st; Brabender, OLB, 2nd; and Lee with two more 1st Team selections at DB and Punt Returner.
When the Western Division coaches made their picks for the MVP on either side of the ball, it was the second straight time that the Titans captured both of them. Manley was tabbed as Most Valuable on offense while Kane Hess received the same honor for his dominating play on defense.
The Titans dominated in the state-level honors as well. Flint Creek landed nine total berths on the All-State 8-Man Football Team. Those being awarded included Manley, Lee, Hess, Allen, Holland, Rigby, Cutler, Brabender and Conley Wagner. Nine selections to this team is the most ever by a team.
Coach Cutler also noted that all four seniors – Manley, Hess, Allen and Holland – have all been selected to play in the Bob Cleverley 8-Man All-Star Game in the summer of 2019. The 31st Annual “Clev” will be held at Montana Tech’s Alumni Stadium. Titan players may also be chosen to play in the Shrine and Badlands all-star games, with those selections made at a later date.