BILLINGS - On Friday night, Billings West will once again face Missoula Sentinel for the Class AA state championship. This time, they'll have a key player on both sides of the ball who missed out last fall. 

Early on in the 2020 season, West senior Max Kimball suffered a season ending knee injury that required surgery. From that moment on, Kimball worked his tail off to be back for this moment.

Head coach Rob Stanton, also the track and field coach at West says his work ethic was on display in the spring when Max never quit and kept improving despite rehabbing his knee.

"He comes out for track and he's not the fastest kid out there, particularly with that knee injury, and he just kept working and working and it's hard when you are not finishing as high as you like to in a track race," says Stanton. "A lot of kids would white flag it, he just kept going and didn't worry about what was around him."
Kimball announced his return to the gridiron in week one against the Spartans, finding the end zone on a 51 yard reception.

Kimball may fly under the radar with all the big names in this Golden Bear senior class, but he's a difference maker who's fully healthy and excited to partake in this year's state championship game. 

"Oh it's awesome, it's a great feeling knowing I've made it through the season so far with no injuries, no problems," says Kimball.  "I'm just excited to go out there and play."

Kimball's hard work has paid off, with Coach Stanton saying he received an from Dickinson State. 

"I think this summer he got an offer from Dickinson State and I think that meant all the world to him," says Stanton. "I remember him giving the coach a hug, thanking him for that and I think it put the ball in motion for him and he's had a great year for us this year."

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