Billings West football team plans to ‘keep working’ after memorable four-year run | High school football
INVOICING – Highs and lows.
Every sporting season has moments of great joy and moments of frustration.
For the Billings West Golden Bears football team, it’s no different.
The Bears, AA State finalists, were disappointed with the results of a 35-6 league loss to defending champion Missoula Sentinel on Friday in Missoula. However, the team as a whole and its roughly 25 elders have left their mark on the program.
The Bears were also state finalists in 2020 behind Sentinel and state champions in 2018. In 2019, the Golden Bears reached the semi-finals.
This year, West was 10-2. The year before the Golden Bears finished 9-1 and in 2019 they were 9-2. During the 2018 State Championship campaign, West was 12-1. That’s an overall college record of 40-6 during that time.
“I am very proud of our coaches, our team and our senior management,” said West coach Rob Stanton. “Our seniors have participated in three state championship games and one semi-final. As bad as it stings you, it’s hard to get discouraged after something like this.
The closeness to the team, especially the seniors over the past four years, is what has helped the Bears reach a gold standard.
“No. 1, they got along and spent time together and their work ethic and drive is pretty phenomenal,” Stanton said. “They would always be at weight. They are involved in multiple sports and compete against them. with each other and against each other since they were little. It’s just a passion and a motivation and how they wanted to win so much. We did everything in our power to make it happen. They Obviously have really good families to set the table in their place. That’s part of it; the dynamism of families and the passion that they have. It’s pretty rare and these guys had it.
All good teams have their share of star players, and West is no different with many key players on both sides of the ball. However, Stanton said that during the season, the contributions of the group as a whole have been critical to the Bears’ success.
“And it’s really special when we have a group of seniors. Some haven’t played as much as the ones always highlighted, ”Stanton said. “There were 7, 8 or 9 who just saw the field a little bit, or on special teams. Most kids, especially today, if you don’t get something with all the work they display or practice (you might quit). These 7 or 8 children are quite special.
“It’s really hard when you put in all the hard work and you don’t get the paycheck. We had a very good group of children who joined our program. They played a few pieces but maybe wanted more, but they were ready to do it.
Stanton said the Bears will take a short break over the Thanksgiving holiday to reset. Then many of them will find their way to a winter sport or the spring track season.
Even though there will be a big loss of degrees, the veteran coach isn’t too worried about the Bears’ future, saying the foundation is in place.
“We still have good kids in the program. We didn’t lose a rookie or JV game last year, ”said Stanton. “The only two losses in our program were against Sentinel in the first and last game. This is something our children can look forward to. Our freshmen, sophomores and juniors must be ready to take it to the next level and are ready for it. While it may sting right now, the closet is not bare. After the Christmas holidays, we will start to focus on next year. No one will feel sorry for us and we will not feel sorry for ourselves. We will also have good children ready to go next year.
While the Bears didn’t think their performance was indicative of the “product we’ve put on the pitch all year” when they lost to the Spartans – who won 21 straight games and finished the year 11-0 – Stanton said “he was just one of those games where you take your hat off to Sentinel.
Stanton explained that the Bears have enjoyed their season and will soon be focusing on other tasks and challenges that await them this school year and beyond.
“First and foremost is the kind of kids we had in our program. Our seniors, all different win. This is part of it. Whether you win it, finish second like we did, or don’t make it to the playoffs, that’s part of the process, ”said Stanton. “Making memories is something you look at later.
“I tell the kids it’s time to turn the page, there is no last day for anything. There is always something better out there. Just keep working.