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Class AA all-state football

Class AA football: Wolfpack, Eagles clean up in all-state selections

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Big Sky Glacier Football

Glacier’s Tadan Gilman (3) and Tucker Rauthe (11) sandwich Big Sky’s Cory Diaz during their game in the State AA semifinals in Kalispell on Friday.

Names from Kalispell Glacier take up the bulk of the Class AA all-state first team, but Missoula Big Sky isn't too far behind.

The State AA champion Wolfpack earned 11 first-team selections -- not to mention both offensive and defensive MVP awards -- but the next closest squad when the lists were released this week in terms of post-season honors was the semifinalist Eagles.

By far.

Big Sky, which reached the semifinals for the first time since 2004 this fall, was rewarded with nine all-state first teamers; state runner-up Great Falls CMR had six.

Most of the Eagles' honors came from just three players, though.

As one of the smallest schools at the AA level in term of enrollment, the Eagles employed mostly two-way players on offense and defense. Seniors Colin Bingham (tight end, defensive end), Cory Diaz (running back, outside linebacker) and Matt Murphy (offensive and defensive tackle) were all listed twice.

Bingham was also one of only two three-way first-teamers thanks to his long-snapping duties.

Glacier senior Logan Jones, too, earned three nods -- at receiver, punt returner and kick returner.

Big Sky junior Michael Banna was also chosen first team as a fullback and senior inside linebacker Luke Entzel wrapped up the team's selections there.

Glacier's quarterback Brady McChesney and middle linebacker Josh Hill were named the state's MVPs for their senior seasons. O-linemen Harrison Kauffman and Truman Pisk were also first-team picks, as was placekicker Brandon Purdy, defensive end Andrew Harris and defensive backs Tucker Rauthe and Cain Boschee.

CMR running back Andrew Grinde, who earlier this week was announced as Montana's Gatorade Player of the Year, also earned first-team honors. He and teammate Payton Sexe (defensive end) were Eastern AA's conference MVPs.

Missoula Sentinel placed one player on the first team in junior punter Anders Conwell. Linebacker Cy Steele was a second-team choice on defense.

Honorable mention Spartans included: quarterback Kade Paffhausen, wide receiver/cornerback Alec Steele, center/D-lineman Jake Rebish, kicker Gabe Peppenger, offensive tackle Colin Hammock, defensive end Byron Rollins and kick returner Jackson King.

Alec Steele and Rebish were chosen on both offense and defense.

Big Sky also had a handful of second-team and honorable-mention selections. That included Conner Gordon as a second-team center and honorable mention linebacker, as well as second-team picks for Brock Shaide (safety), and Chance Maes (cornerback).

Other honorable mention Eagles were: Matt Kaufman (offensive guard), Kodi Kemp (offensive tackle) and Trevor Frandsen (defensive end).

Missoula Hellgate did not receive any all-state or all-conference recognition.

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