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Articles written by Max Poelker


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  • Hawks bring home district title

    Max Poelker|Nov 4, 2021

    Thompson Falls and Plains competed this past weekend in the District 7B tournament at St. Ignatius High School. For the Blue Hawks, it was a weekend full of dominance as they only dropped one set on their way to winning the tournament. They kicked the tournament off with a no-doubt victory over St. Ignatius in three sets (25-11, 25-7, 25-21). The Blue Hawks were led against the Bulldogs by their seniors Elli Pardee (seven set assists) and Scarlette Schwindt (seven set assists, five digs), as...

  • County runners perform well at state

    Max Poelker|Oct 28, 2021

    Runners from Plains, Thompson Falls and Hot Springs competed at Saturday's MHSA State meet at the University of Montana Golf Course in Missoula. It was a great day for racing according to Plains coach Jesse Jermyn. "We were blessed with great weather and a well put together meet, so props to Anders Brooker [event organizer] and his team." With conditions in the runners' favor, participants from each school posted excellent times on a course with hilly terrain that provided some challenges. The...

  • Trotters bounce back for win

    Max Poelker|Oct 28, 2021

    The script read like a Hollywood movie on a night where the Plains Trotters honored their seniors Izzy Butcher, Lexa Craft, Genna Deschamps, Madison Elliott and Kaylah Standeford. It was a game for the ages as Coach Jesse Butcher’s team pulled off a heroic comeback. In a season marred by new rotations and missing starters, Plains pulled it all together Friday night to rally from a two set deficit to defeat the Troy Trojans 22-25, 24-26, 25-21, 25-18, 16-14. The first set opened with the teams g...

  • Hawk teams head into postseason play on top

    Max Poelker|Oct 28, 2021

    It was a great week to be a Blue Hawk last week as Coach Jared Koskela's football team clinched the No. 1 overall seed for the Western Division heading to the playoffs and Coach Sandra Kazmierczak's volleyball squad clinched the #1 seed for the upcoming district tournament. It was yet another two-victory week for Kazmierczak's team as they defeated Troy (25-14, 25-12, 25-12) and then Plains (25-14, 25-9, 25-8). The Blue Hawks were led against Troy by senior captain Elli Pardee who tallied a team...

  • Savage Heat finish regular season with home victory

    Max Poelker|Oct 28, 2021

    Entering last Friday night’s matchup against White Sulphur Springs, Coach Jim Lawson’s Hot Springs Savage Heat had the opportunity to win the Class-C six-man western division with a victory. The division title wasn’t meant to be this season however, as the Hornets overcame the rain and the stout Savage Heat defense to emerge victorious by a score of 8-6. Defense reigned supreme Friday night as both teams reached the end zone just one time, the difference being an extra point conversion by White...

  • Red Devils head to Wilsall for first round of playoffs

    Max Poelker|Oct 28, 2021

    Noxon's football squad welcomed in Valley Christian last Friday afternoon in a 6-Man Western division showdown with playoff seeding on the line. The Red Devils had the opportunity to improve from their fourth-place position in the division with a victory on Friday, but it wasn't Noxon's day as they fell by a score of 52-20. Valley Christian jumped out to a 30-0 first quarter lead that they never relinquished while they solidified their second-place finish in the division. Noxon was able to push...

  • Grateful to have fans back

    Max Poelker|Oct 28, 2021

    As our local sports teams head toward the finish line of their respective seasons, it’s not hard to forget just how different things were one year ago at this time. From Sanders County to professional sports arenas, the silence created by a lack of spectators last season was deafening. Now that fans are back in attendance, it’s easy to appreciate all of the different dynamics that were sorely missed in 2020. Since we are approaching the season of giving thanks, I’d like to point to two recen...

  • Hot Springs, Noxon face off on the field

    Max Poelker|Oct 21, 2021

    In a game with serious playoff implications, coach Jim Lawson's Hot Springs team traveled to face off against coach Bart Haflich's Noxon squad last Tuesday night. Heading into the matchup Noxon held a one-game advantage over the Savage Heat in the Montana 6-man western division. Hot Springs was quick to make an opening statement with an electrifying 65-yard kick return for a touchdown by quarterback Jack McAllister. The Savage Heat were able to add two more first-quarter scores courtesy of a...

  • Runners ready for state meet after conference competition

    Max Poelker|Oct 21, 2021

    On a chilly 42-degree day at River's Bend Golf Course in Thompson Falls, cross country runners from Plains, Hot Springs, Thompson Falls and 13 other teams competed in the conference championship. With the sun tucked behind the clouds and the course in prime condition, the circumstances were perfect for long distance running according to Thompson Falls head coach Sarah Naegeli. With the perfect conditions and a season's worth of training under their belt, runners from each school performed...

  • Lady Hawks rally for win on senior night

    Max Poelker|Oct 21, 2021

    Last Thursday's volleyball game between Thompson Falls and Mission was filled with emotion as the Blue Hawks honored their seniors during their senior night celebration. The athletes were given bouquets of flowers and recognized one by one as they were surrounded by their friends and family members. Adding another layer of emotion, Thompson Falls players and fans were decked out in pink to honor those who have been affected by breast cancer and to raise awareness for the ongoing fight against...

  • Trotters stay competitive

    Max Poelker|Oct 21, 2021

    Heading into last Tuesday's matchup against Anaconda, Coach Jesse Butcher's Plains Trotters were facing an uphill battle due to four missing varsity players, an issue that has been an unfortunate theme this season. While the Trotters battled admirably, they fell in three sets (10-25, 9-25, 18-25). Coach Butcher was proud of the way her team fought despite the loss. "They definitely didn't disappoint. I expected it to be glitchy but we were able to get our feet on the ground as the game went...

  • Hawks step up for rivalry win

    Max Poelker|Oct 21, 2021

    The Thompson Falls Blue Hawks continued their special season Saturday in Plains with a 61-6 victory against coach Ryan Hart’s Horsemen. Thompson Falls jumped out to a 33-0 lead in the first quarter courtesy of their defense and special teams units. The Blue Hawk defense contributed two interceptions returned for touchdowns by juniors Joshua Wilhite (63 yards) and Elijah Ratliff (21 yards), while junior Breck Ferris brought a punt back for a 40-yard touchdown. The vaunted Thompson Falls r...

  • Red Devils get fired up

    Max Poelker|Oct 14, 2021

    In a District 14C showdown that lived up to every ounce of the hype, the Noxon Red Devils defeated the St. Regis Tigers in four sets (25-18, 17-25, 25-15, 25-23) Saturday in St. Regis. The story of the game was overcoming adversity as Noxon fought off a gritty St. Regis team that held leads in three out of four sets. Head coach Dana Grupenhoff's Red Devils improved to 3-2 on the season in which they've had to reschedule six matches due to COVID. The first set saw St. Regis up 3-1 until Noxon...

  • Hawks pick up another win for homecoming

    Max Poelker|Oct 14, 2021

    Another week, another blowout victory for the Thompson Falls football team. Head coach Jared Koskela's team defeated Arlee 61-24 in front of their home fans in what was Thompson Falls' homecoming game. In a game that wasn't as close as the score would indicate, coach Koskela "couldn't have been happier" with the way his starters opened up the game. The Blue Hawks dominated the opening quarter through contributions from junior quarterback Elijah Ratliff and senior running back Nathan Schraeder....

  • The Sports Corner

    Max Poelker|Oct 14, 2021

    "How can you not be romantic about football, man?" asked Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers moments after he had led his team down the field for a game-winning field goal against The San Francisco 49ers on September 26. Rodgers and the Packers were faced with slim odds to escape San Francisco with a victory as the 49ers scored the go ahead touchdown with only 37 seconds remaining. The 17-year veteran quarterback wasn't willing to accept defeat however as he completed two perfect passes...

  • Momentum carries Lady Hawks

    Max Poelker|Oct 14, 2021

    "Bump! Set! Kill!" chanted the raucous Thompson Falls student section last Tuesday night in the school's homecoming volleyball match against Plains. It was a festive night for the Blue Hawks and their fans as they rolled to their eighth straight victory in three sets against the Horseman, 25-8, 25-10, 25-7. Thompson Falls head coach Sandra Kazmierczak was appreciative of the home crowd for bringing the intensity. "We want to truly thank the student body for their support tonight and throughout...

  • Lady Hawks are on a roll

    Max Poelker|Oct 7, 2021

    The Thompson Falls Blue Hawks volleyball team continued their winning streak by racking up two more victories this past week. Coach Sandra Kazmierczak's team moved to 8-2 on the season and 5-0 in conference play. Since getting off to a rocky 1-2 start, the Blue Hawks have now won seven games in a row and are firing on all cylinders. Tuesday night's home matchup vs Troy was a matchup of "David vs Goliath" as Thompson Falls cruised to victory in three sets: 25-9, 25-15, 25-10. In volleyball...

  • Savage Heat back on track with home win

    Max Poelker|Oct 7, 2021

    Coming off a tough 40-36 defeat in a thrilling game against Valley Christian, The Hot Springs football team was looking to rebound in a big way Friday against Gardiner. Head coach Jim Lawson’s team did just that as they soundly defeated Gardiner 58-0 in front of their home fans. Coach Lawson mentioned his players were hungry to prove themselves. “We wanted to make sure we brough energy into this game. The players wanted to show everyone they are back after a tough loss last week.” From the o...

  • Red Devils pick up wins, prepare for Hot Springs

    Max Poelker|Oct 7, 2021

    It isn't often that a football team can pick up two conference victories in a four-day span, but that's exactly what The Noxon Red Devils were able to do last week. September 28, Coach Bart Haflich's team traveled to Philipsburg to meet Gardiner High School for a makeup game. The Red Devils' defense showed some early signs of rust as they lost containment on Gardiner senior John McDonald who got around the edge for an early 55-yard touchdown run. Noxon was able to respond with a 37-yard...

  • Darby presents challenge, Hawks remain undefeated

    Max Poelker|Oct 7, 2021

    Heading into Friday’s matchup at Darby, the Thompson Falls Blue Hawks had defeated their previous three opponents by a combined score of 174-12. For a team that will be heavily favored in each of their remaining three games, Friday night at Darby High School could be just the reality check that the Blue Hawks needed. In the first quarter Thompson Falls took to the air to take an early 6-0 lead via a beautifully thrown deep ball from junior quarterback Elijah Ratliff to senior running back N...

  • Horsemen suffer loss at home, will travel to Troy on Friday

    Max Poelker|Oct 7, 2021

    Spirits were high at Plains High School heading into their homecoming matchup Saturday against Charlo. The visiting Vikings were quick to dampen the mood, however, as they jumped out to a 30-0 lead in the first quarter, powered by three rushing touchdowns from junior running back Keaton Piedalue. The second quarter was much of the same as Charlo punched in three more touchdowns and recorded a safety. The star of the second quarter was senior Braydon Zempel, who had a 9-yard touchdown run and a...

  • Plains Royalty

    Max Poelker|Oct 7, 2021

    The 2021 homecoming royalty was announced during the Horsemen's game against Charlo on Friday. Lillian McDonald was crowned queen, with Levi Blood as king....

  • Hawks remain undefeated

    Max Poelker|Sep 30, 2021

    In a battle of two undefeated “Hawks,” the Thompson Falls Blue Hawks soundly defeated the Seeley-Swan Blackhawks 62-6 Friday night at Seeley-Swan High School. In a game billed as “the Montana 8-Man game of the week,” by 406mtsports.com, Thompson Falls justified their number two ranking in the state by dominating the first half scoring 50-6. In front of the rowdy Blackhawk Nation crowd, Thompson Falls relied on both sides of the football to jump out to an early 30-0 lead in the first quarter...

  • Savage Heat fall to Charlo

    Max Poelker|Sep 30, 2021

    In a game that felt much closer than the final results, the Hot Springs Savage Heat fell in three sets to Charlo Saturday night, 25-11, 25-19, 25-18. The loss drops the Savage Heat's record to 0-3 on the young season. The Charlo Vikings roared out to a commanding 15-3 lead in the first set before Hot Springs Coach Alisha Pablo called a timeout. Charlo's hot start was powered by high-flying kills from seniors Kassidi Cox and Hayleigh Smith. The Savage Heat responded in a big way after the...

  • Savage Heat look for comeback

    Max Poelker|Sep 30, 2021

    In a high scoring shootout between two conference rivals, Valley Christian (3-2) outlasted Hot Springs 40-36 last Friday at MCPS Stadium on the campus of Big Sky High School in Missoula. Hot Springs (3-1) was powered by a huge rushing performance from quarterback Jack McAllister. The senior ran for 197 yards and two touchdowns. “The team gave great effort. Jack played really hard and ran the ball extremely well,” said Hot Springs head coach Jim Lawson. The Savage Heat also received all...