Winter: Cowboys face a familiar foe in opening round of playoffs

Abe Winter
Star Columnist

Now comes the playoffs for the Custer County District High School football team.

The Cowboys, 7-2 and riding a seven-game winning streak, should be favored to beat first-round opponent Fergus (5-4) at Connors Field at 1 p.m. Saturday. After that, who knows?

Coach Jeff Regan’s team is seeded fourth and Fergus of Lewistown is No. 5 in the Eastern A final standings. In their regular season matchup, the Cowboys won 19-2 at Fergus. Thus, the favorite’s tag playing at home.

The Cowboys won despite the rain and mist in Lewistown six weeks ago.

“We couldn’t do much because of the weather,” running back Cameron Muri said, referring to Game 2 of the current winning streak. “But, hopefully, we can open up the passing game a little more.”

That would be welcomed by receivers Zack Dinardi, Kip Krebsbach, Keith Vanderlaan and Nathan Simpson. And don’t forget the running ability on reverses by those receivers. They are super fast and don’t require much of a hole when handed the ball by Gundlach. And if they get a block on the outside, they often are gone to the end zone, or at least long gains.

Dinardi said he isn’t concerned about getting passes in any game. “As long as we’re winning, I don’t care,” he said prior to Wednesday’s practice.” As for the opponent, Dinardi said: “We have a lot more to show them.”

By the way, things will be different at Connors Stadium for this playoff game, which is run by the Montana High School Association.

CCDHS passes aren’t valid for MHSA postseason games, so tickets will cost $7 for adults and $6 for students. There will be no 50/50 drawing and the school can’t sell its apparel.

Activities director Dominick Vergara said the theme for the game is Cowboy/Cowgirl/Ranch attire.

“Time to be loud and proud,” Vergara said, adding that he “encourages the community to provide support by wearing the Cowboy/Cowgirl colors.” The CCDHS fans probably didn’t need to be reminded of the latter.



— One pitcher in the New York Yankees organization who amazes Miles City’s Caleb Frare is left-handed closer Aroldis Chapman, who can bring it at 100-plus mph.

“It’s incredible. He throws it so hard,” said Frare, who will go to spring training with the Yankees in February in Tampa. “I was playing catch with him and my glove was three years old and I’m thinking ‘Don’t break it.’”

Frare, if you haven’t heard, said he can consistently throw 96 MPH fastballs.

— The Miles Community College volleyball team is down to 12 players after three Montanans decided to stay in school but not compete. Kelsey McDonald of Gardiner, Makayla Lennick of Billings and Jada Kananen of Roy are no longer on the roster.

— It seemed unfair, but when Northwest College of Powell, Wyoming, brought its volleyball team to MCC last week, its roster featured 6-foot-4 sophomore Aleksandra Saric of Niksic, Montenegro, and 5-8 leaper Luana Rezende of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and others with considerable talent.

After defeating MCC 3-0 despite noticeable improvement by the Pioneers, the Trappers continued their quest for a fifth straight Region IX championship. Saric and Rezende combined for 23 kills in their past two 3-0 victories.

They have a 10-2 conference record — both losses to Casper College — but are only 14-11 overall. They started 1-8 in what their coaches considered an overwhelming opening schedule. The Trappers hardly looked like a 1-8 team against the Pioneers.

Apparently, having scholarships to offer can attract players worldwide.

— If you’re wondering how women play basketball around the world, you should attend the Miles Community College season opener Wednesday against the College of Southern Idaho. The tip-off is at 7 p.m. at the Centra.

First-year coach Nate Vogel will introduce players from Poland, Bosnia, Montenegro, Spain (3), Hawaii (2), Utah and Montana (3).

(Contact Abe Winter at or 406-234-0450.)