COLUMBIA FALLS — Last week, Columbia Falls won the boys Class A state soccer championship. Earlier that same day its football team advanced to the Class A quarterfinals in football.
One man, Kai Golan, just so happened to score for the Wildcats in both games.
“It’s crazy," said Golan. "I told myself going into this game I wasn’t losing and I just had to get it done and that’s what I did.”
And get it done he did, despite the conflicting postseason schedules for football and soccer.
"He compromised, said ‘I’ll kick for a half for football,’ and he went down there and did it and scored for football," said head soccer coach O’Brien Byrd. "Then he came up into the locker room, changed into his soccer clothes, and we ran out onto the soccer field and he scored a hat-trick in the first half."
And although Byrd wasn’t particularly keen on the idea of one of his star players playing football hours before the state final, he had faith in Golan.
"He made a promise to me, he said, ‘Coach I promise I’ll be good. I’ll be good, I’m not gonna lose this game," said Byrd of Golan. "And he made good on his promise because it was one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen from a high school player. First half hat-trick in the state championship game, I’m not sure it’s ever happened."
While he’s been a soccer player his whole life, the football team heard about his leg and had to see if the power and skill translated from the back of the net and through the uprights.
"We were like, 'You should come kick, we think you could you know be something special in this,'" said head football coach Jaxon Schweikert. "He came out, he never kicked before and day one we’re going, ‘he might be the best in the state.’ He’s like, ‘Was that good?’ I’m like, 'Ya that was better than anything.'"
And after drilling field goals from 40-plus yards and sending kickoffs into the end zone, Golan has proven his dual-threat ability. That included a first-half hat trick in a win over Livingston in the soccer championship.
"He’s caught the eye of every college head coach in our state pretty quickly," said Schweikert. "And he has a bright future, he’s definitely gonna kick on Saturdays if he chooses that door."
When it comes to Golan playing two sports at once, he says he just can’t get enough.
"It honestly just feels great," said Golan. "Sports is so huge in my life and it just feels great, everyone else is relaxing and I’m that guy who’s still grinding. Just won a state championship and I’m still out here."
Golan will get the opportunity to taste victory again as he chases his second state championship. The Wildcats travel to Lewistown this week for a quarterfinal playoff football game and a berth in the Class A semifinals.