JORDAN — As the seconds ticked away on Wibaux's 70-27 dismantling of Jordan for the 6-Man state football championship on a frigid Saturday afternoon last November, a shout arose from the Mustangs' sideline.
"We'll be back!" a fan proclaimed, and who was to doubt?
As Wibaux celebrated, the Mustangs were mindful that every key player would return from a team that started slowly due to injuries and hit stride until running into the senior-laden Longhorns. Jordan finished 10-3 and returns all-staters Keenan and Ed Murnion, among other standouts.
Needless to say, expectations are high in Garfield County.
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"I like where we're starting," first-year coach and '83 Jordan alum Wyatt Colvin said. "I guess we'll see where the season shakes out."
Here's a look at the upcoming 6-Man football season:
2018 champion: Wibaux.
2019 storyline: Wibaux was unstoppable last year in winning its first 6-Man crown after earning six as an 8-Man program, but the Longhorns lost standouts Cobe Begger, Chance Larson and Cade Dschaak to graduation; all-state quarterback Tel Lunde does return as Wibaux seeks its 21st consecutive playoff berth ... Jordan lost only one game to teams not named Wibaux last season, and that was 103-51 to Richey-Lambert, a team the Mustangs defeated in the semis 50-37 ... Grass Range-Winnett was the fourth semifinalist as eastern Montana dominated 6-Man, but the Rangers canceled their season after only six players showed up for practice ... 2017 champion and perennial-power Westby-Grenora has a new coach after the resignation of Troy Walters ... If you're looking for a team from the west to keep an eye on, it's Hot Springs. The Savage Heat took 2017 off after winning the 6-Man crown in 2016, then returned to make the quarterfinals a year ago ... From the north country, perennial power Geraldine-Highwood, which was upset by Richey-Lambert in the quarterfinals a year ago, is back for another shot after the 8-year-old co-op was nearly dissolved last year. The Rivals were state champions in 2013 and 2014, and have missed the playoffs only once since joining forces ... Big Sandy is another team to keep an eye on behind all-conference running back Kade Strutz ... White Sulphur Springs and Roy-Winifred, behind junior all-stater Tyler Fordyce, were stout a year ago and could be poised to make some noise this fall ... West Yellowstone made the playoffs a year ago and returns several standouts, but the Wolverines moved up to 8-Man for this fall; also moving up is Ekalaka ... Dropping down to add some potential spice to 6-Man are Harlowton-Ryegate, Box Elder and Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap.