MISSOULA — A quick glance at the Class A all-state football roster gives you a good idea why Columbia Falls and Hamilton met in the state title game.
The Broncs had five all-staters on offense and one defensive award winner, while the state champion Wildcats wound up with six all-state players on defense and four on O.
It was that stingy defense that played a big role in Columbia Falls claiming the Class A crown against Hamilton last Saturday in a 26-14 win.
Columbia Falls senior Logan Kolodejchuk, who was named co-Northwest A defensive player of year along with Browning's Brandon Aimsback, was named all-state at defensive end. Kolodejchuk was also an all-conference fullback.
Joining Kolodejchuk from C. Falls as an all-state defensive lineman was Kyler Koski. Teammate Hayden Falkner, also on the D-line, missed an all-state nod but was named as an all-conference first-team D-end.
"Our D-Line we thought was the best in the state from day one with Koski, Falkner and Kolodejchuk," Columbia Falls coach Jaxon Schweikert said after his team won the state title game. "Then our inside backers are almost unblockable."
The state agreed, as Colten McPhee and Tanner Gove — both juniors at Columbia Falls — were named all-state. Safety Ben Windauer and cornerback Devron Harris were also given all-state recognition from the state champion defense.
Hamilton safety Camron Rothie was the lone Bronc to receive an all-state nod on defense, but quarterback Carson Rostad, wide receiver Tyler Chouinard, running back Bridger Bauder, tackle Coy Whyte and center Zach Fussell all were put on the all-state list for offense.
Bauder, who was Class A's No. 2 running back in total yards, finished his senior season with a third all-state nod despite playing a different position than previous years. Bauder was all-conference at wide out last season after an all-state sophomore campaign at receiver. He was also an all-state tight end/slotback his freshman year. This year, Bauder ran for over 1,500 yards as the Broncs finished second in the state.
His sophomore quarterback, Rostad, led the state in total passing yards, while Chouinard led the state in total receiving yards. Both Rostad and Chouinard were named as the Southwest A's offensive players of the year.
Other all-staters on offense from the area included Corvallis guard Garrett Brown, Polson tight end/slotback Haden Smith and Stevensville tight end Alex Gavlak. Columbia Falls quarterback Austin Green, center Hayden Falkner, guard Gage Karlin and tackle Jacob Hagen were also named to the all-state team.
On defense, Frenchtown's Jake Caldwell and Ethan Pyron both earned all-state recognition; Caldwell at defensive line, Pyron at cornerback.
Attached is the full list of Class A all-state award winners as well as all-conference honorees from the Northwest and Southwest A.