Custer County opens prep FB playoffs at Billings Central Catholic on Friday

They say it’s difficult to beat a football team twice in the same season.

“I hope so,” Custer County High School head coach Jeff Regan said when asked if the old adage is true.

The Cowboys will travel to Billings to play Central Catholic in the opening round of the Class A state football playoffs on Friday, just two weeks after dropping a 42-21 decision to the Rams.

“We thought our season was finished” after the loss at Billings, Regan said. “So we’re pretty relaxed, happy, playing with house money.”

The Cowboys earned their berth by demolishing Dawson County 42-6 last week. Despite their 4-5 record, Custer County made the field as a wildcard team thanks to power rankings that take into account strength of schedule.

Billings Central Catholic appears dominant on paper. 

The Rams are 6-2 overall, and finished second in the Eastern A Conference with a 4-1 mark. Custer County is 4-5, and has lost two of its past three games.

Plus, the Cowboys struggled on defense against the Rams the last time out, yielding more than 500 yards in total offense and the most points they surrendered this season.

But Regan said Custer County has a few factors playing in its favor, in addition to the nothing-to-lose mentality.

The squad has been working on defensive scheme changes this week in the hopes of holding the Ram offense at bay.

Plus, the Cowboys are healthy for a change, after a series of injuries that struck skill-position players as well as the defensive line.

“This is the healthiest we’ve been pretty much the whole season,” Regan said. “We’ve been getting some guys back who hadn’t played in a while.”

The Cowboys also seem to have solved their problem with slippery fingers.

After turnovers and penalties plagued the team in earlier losses, Regan said his offensive unit has kept the mistakes to a minimum the past two weeks.

“It’s always important to limit mistakes, but even more so in the playoffs,” Regan said. “The team that makes the least mistakes usually wins.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Herb Klindt Field at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.

Last year Custer County received a bye in the opening round of the playoffs, and fell just one win short of reaching the state championship game.