Prep Football Another ranked foe for Glacier; a road battle for Flathead

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The last thing Glacier wants, or needs, at this point of the high school football season is to be 0-4, again.

The Wolfpack did that a year ago en route to a 4-5 campaign. That also resulted in Glacier not advancing to postseason play after a run of eight straight years.

Glacier is off to an 0-3 start this fall, opening with losses at two-time state champion Billings Senior, at Great Falls C.M. Russell and to top-ranked Bozeman at home last Friday night.

And it doesn’t get an easier this week as Helena High, one of three unbeaten teams and ranked No. 3, plays the Wolfpack tonight at Legends Stadium at 7 p.m. It’s also Glacier’s homecoming.

“It seems like one of those seasons,” Glacier coach Grady Bennett said of having nothing go right.

“We knew starting off we’d be playing some of the best teams right off the top.”

Glacier lost to Senior in the final minute and the CMR contest was not decided until the late going.

Bozeman led 24-6 at the half en route to a 38-22 victory.

“The kids have been excellent,” Bennett said during the losing skid.

“I was so proud of them on Friday night with the way things have gone, with (starting quarterback) Evan (Todd) going down so early (in the game). They could have thrown in the towel, but they battled like crazy.”

Todd was knocked out of the game with a concussion and his status for tonight is a game-time decision.

Taking over for Todd last week was sophomore quarterback JT Allen.

“I thought he did really, really well for being thrown into that situation,” Bennett said.

Glacier’s second-string QB, Braedy Santens, was not available. He was hurt earlier in the day in a subvarsity game with Bozeman. He suffered a high ankle sprain.

Glacier last week had 146 yards passing and 148 rushing.

“Helena has good athletes,” Bennett said.

“They will run the ball. Their quarterback is athletic. They run behind a big, powerful, offensive line.”

Last year’s meeting between the two schools was canceled because of unspecified threats via text messages and emails made toward area schools in the Flathead Valley.

Following the Helena High contest, Glacier stays home for the crosstown battle with Flathead on Week 5 — Sept. 21. That’s also the halfway point of the regular season.

“I’m just proud of the kids,” Bennett said.

“They are getting better, coming to work every day, having fun and improving every week. That’s all you can ask for.”

Flathead vs. No. 4 Sentinel

At Washington-Grizzly Stadium

The 42-20 home loss last Friday to Billings West (2-1) knocked Flathead from the rankings, it was No. 3 last week, and was the first setback of the season for the Braves.

Flathead (2-1) fell behind 21-0 after one quarter and trailed 28-13 at the half.

This is the second road game of the season for the Braves.

Sentinel also checks in with a 2-1 record. The Spartans lost in overtime to Great Falls High last Friday 33-30.

“It should be a good battle,” Flathead coach Kyle Samson said.

“They are a good football team, Both teams are looking to bounce back after a loss last week.”

Samson said his players have responded well in practice this week.

“Sentinel is very athletic, has some good playmakers, their quarterback is a good player and we just have to contain the quarterback and start fast, win the turnover battle — that will be huge in this game.”

This marks the first time in Samson’s fifth season at FHS the Braves have played in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

“The kids are looking forward to it,” he said.

“It should be a pretty cool atmosphere for them.”

Following the Sentinel outing, Flathead is home to face Glacier in the crosstown game on Sept. 21st at Legends Stadium. That’s Week 5 of the regular season and the halfway point.

Flathead beat Glacier last year 31-19 to end an eight-year skid in the series. That put the Braves at 2-2 and sparked a strong push to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

The Braves finished 6-4 after the 24-10 AA quarterfinal loss to Helena Capital at Legends Stadium.

Game of the Week

Bigfork at Eureka

Kickoff 7 p.m.

It’s been two years since these rivals squared off with Eureka winning that one 20-6. Prior to that, Bigfork won four straight against Eureka coach Trevor Utter, now in his seventh season as head coach.

Eureka comes in ranked No. 1 with Bigfork at No. 5.

Both teams are 3-0 and have rolled to convincing victories.

The Lions, two-time defending Class B state champions, have won 23 games in a row.

“Without a doubt,” Utter said of this being his team’s biggest test in 2018.

“We haven’t played very good competition yet. Obviously, a huge game.”

Regarding Bigfork ...

“They do a lot of things really well,” Utter said.

“They are so solid all the way through — offense, defense and special teams — and very well coached. To beat Bigfork, we’re going to have to play a perfect game. We have a game plan and we have to execute that game plan. There will be in-game adjustments.”

Utter said he’s hoping to have a couple of key starters back for tonight’s test.

“Hopefully they will be there and ready to go,” he said.

“At this point of the year, everyone is dealing with something (injuries).”

Utter said the Eureka starting defense has not allowed a point this fall.

“We’ve played weaker competition and we know that,” he said.

But the unit is stout, led by returning starters safety Hank Dunn, end Mason Davis and linebacker Read Guckenburg and Jake Kindel.

“They are solid,” he said of his defensive unit.

“They cover the field well, so not much for weak spots on our defense. Teams have a had a hard time running the ball, throwing the ball against us. We’ll find out how tough we are.”

On offense, Dunn, who was an all-state receiver last year, has moved behind center as the starting quarterback.

“He’s doing great, very efficient,” Utter said of Dunn.

“Looking very good in the run and the passing game. A good decision maker, a great athlete.”

Despite losing all-state junior tailback Chet McCully in the first game of the season to a knee injury, “we’ve had other good kids stepping up,” Utter said.

“That was a blow to us. We had to find our new identity. He was a 25- carry the ball, the game kid.”

With McCully out, Terell Helgert, a senior, moved from wide receiver to tailback.

“He has done a nice job,” Utter said.

Kindel, an all-state fullback, is getting more carries.

Standings

Class AA

W L

Bozeman 3 0

Great Falls High 3 0

Helena High 3 0

Billings Senior 2 1

Billings West 2 1

Flathead 2 1

Missoula Sentinel 2 1

Butte 1 2

Great Falls C.M. Russell 1 2

Helena Capital 1 2

Missoula Big Sky 1 2

Billings Skyview 0 3

Glacier 0 3

Missoula Hellgate 0 3

Today’s Games

7 p.m.— Flathead vs. Missoula Sentinel at Washington-Grizzly Stadium

7 p.m. — Helena High at Glacier

7 p.m. — Missoula Hellgate at Missoula Big Sky

7 p.m.— Butte at Bozeman

7 p.m. — Billings Skyview at Helena Capital

7 p.m. — Billings Senior at Great Falls C.M. Russell

7 p.m. — Great Falls High at Billings West

Last Week

Billings West 42, Flathead 20

Bozeman 38, Glacier 22

Helena High 56, Missoula Hellgate 14

Billings Senior 47, Billings Skyview 16

Great Falls High 33, Missoula Sentinel 30, OT

Helena Capital 37, Butte 27

Missoula Big Sky 24, Great Falls C.M. Russell 14

Class A

Western Division

Northwestern

Overall

W L

Columbia Falls 1 1

Browning 1 2

Libby 1 2

Whitefish 1 2

Ronan 0 2

Polson 0 3

Today

7 p.m.— Columbia Falls at Stevensville

7 p.m. — Whitefish at Corvallis

7 p.m. — Butte Central at Libby

7 p.m. — Polson at Hamilton

7 p.m. — Ronan at Dillon

Southwestern

Corvallis 3 0

Frenchtown 3 0

Hamilton 3 0

Stevensville 2 1

Butte Central 1 1

Dillon 1 1

Eastern Division

Central

Conference/Overall

W L

Belgrade 3 0

Lewistown 2 1

Havre 1 2

Livingston 1 2

East

Billings Central 3 0

Laurel 2 1

Glendive 1 2

Miles City 1 2

Sidney 1 2

Hardin 0 3

Class B

Western

League Overall

W L W L

Bigfork 2 0 3 0

Eureka 1 0 3 0

Deer Lodge 1 0 1 2

Missoula Loyola 0 0 2 1?Florence 0 1 2 1

Thompson Falls 0 1 0 3

Anaconda 0 2 0 3

Eastern

Roundup 1 0 2 0

Huntley Project 1 0 2 1

Colstrip 0 0 3 0

Shepherd 0 0 1 2

Baker 0 1 0 2

Red Lodge 0 1 0 3

Southern

Townsend 2 0 3 0

Big Timber 1 0 2 0

Three Forks 1 1 2 1

Whitehall 0 0 1 2

Columbus 0 1 2 1

Jefferson 0 1 1 2

Manhattan 0 1 0 3

Northern B

Cut Bank 1 0 2 1

Glasgow 1 0 1 1

Malta 1 0 1 2

Fairfield 0 0 2 0

Conrad 0 1 0 2

Harlem 0 1 0 1

Wolf Point 0 1 0 2

Rankings

406mtsports.com

Through Sept. 8

Class AA

1. Bozeman (3-0)

2. Great Falls (3-0)

3. Helena (3-0)

4. Missoula Sentinel (2-1)

5. Billings West (2-1)

Class A

1. Hamilton (3-0)

2. Billings Central (3-0)

3. Belgrade (3-0)

4. Columbia Falls (1-1)

5. Frenchtown (3-0)

Class B

1. Eureka (3-0)

2. Fairfield (2-0)

3. Colstrip (3-0)

4. Townsend (3-0)

5. Bigfork (3-0)

6. Roundup (2-0)

7. Big Timber (2-0)

8. Columbus (2-1)

9. Missoula Loyola (2-1)

10. Three Forks (2-1)

Class C 8-Man

1. Drummond-Philipsburg (3-0)

2. Shelby (2-0)

3. Fairview (3-0)

4. Great Falls Central (3-0)

5. Joliet (2-0)

6. Choteau (3-0)

7. Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap (3-0)

8. Charlo (2-1)

9. Centerville (3-0)

10. Culbertson (3-0)

Class C 6-Man

1. Westby-Grenora (3-0)

2. Wibaux (3-0)

3. Grass Range-Winnett (4-0)

4. Richey-Lambert (3-0)

5. White Sulphur Springs (3-0)

6. Geraldine-Highwood (2-1)

7. Big Sandy (2-1)

8. Bridger (2-1)

9. Hot Springs (2-1)

10. Noxon (2-1)

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