By KATIE BROWN
The Daily Inter Lake
There are four more weeks of the football season left, and coach Grady Bennett and the Glacier Wolfpack plan to make the most of every minute.
Glacier lost 34-28 to Missoula Sentinel at Legends Stadium on Friday to drop to 1-5 overall in AA play. Its lone win came in Week 4, a 48-14 rout of Helena High, which was then ranked No. 3.
“We’ve got four weeks left together for sure,” Bennett said. “Whatever it looks like after that, we don’t know, but four weeks left and we just have to cherish every second of it, because it goes fast and it’ll be over before we know it.”
Preston Blain’s 11-yard touchdown run on Glacier’s first possession of the game gave the Wolfpack a 7-0 lead. Sentinel answered with two touchdowns in the second quarter and led 14-7 just before the half. Blain ran for 14 yards to tie it 14-14 with 41 seconds left.
Blain was again Glacier’s rushing leader, with 168 yards to accompany his two TD runs.
Glacier receiver Drew Deck had eight catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Evan Todd threw for 184 yards and two touchdowns for the Wolfpack.
The game was never really out of reach for Bennett’s Wolfpack, who went punch-for-punch with Sentinel right up until the final minute of the game.
Several ill-timed penalties prevented Glacier from breaking loose, however. A penalty on Danny Anderson’s long kickoff return deep in Sentinel territory was called back to Glacier’s own 13-yard line on a penalty. Todd was taken down in the backfield on the next play and Sentinel scored on its next possession.
“It seemed like every time we’d have a good drive, we’d end up first and 15 or first and 20,” Bennett said.
“We just kind of kept hurting ourselves a bit.”
Deck made a 24-yard catch through coverage and danced over the goal line with 3:49 remaining in the fourth to tie things up at 28-28. Sentinel answered with Rylan Ortt’s 4-yard run at 1:25.
Glacier ended up in a fourth-and-10 situation with less than a minute remaining and Bennett decided to go for it, but Todd’s pass to Anderson was incomplete as the game slipped out of reach for the Wolfpack.
“Just the story of our season,” Bennett said. “Another one got away.”
He added: “Obviously we want to try to win every game and we’ve had a lot of success in our program but that’s sports, too. It doesn’t always work that way and I know that. I’ve been in it long enough.”
More than winning games, Bennett wants his players to learn the right lessons from this season — and he believes they are.
“I told the guys, life doesn’t always work out for you,” he said.
“The thing is, every season is special, every season is unique no matter what. This is a good group of kids. I feel bad for them. My heart aches for them. I want them to experience winning. They’re a really, really good group of kids. I love coaching them. You just want success for them really bad. That’s where it’s like, this is special. No matter what, it’s really special.”
Bennett said the character of the team is showing off the field as well. A bus driver emailed to say that in 47 years of driving buses, she’d never had a team say thank you and clean the bus before this season.
“You hang on those things and you know they’re learning good lessons and they’re becoming good men, and that’s most important,” he said.
Glacier is back on the road to face Great Falls High on Friday.
Missoula Sentinel 0 14 0 21 — 35
Glacier 7 7 7 7 — 28
G — Preston Blain 11 run (Carter Purdy kick)
S — Rylan Ortt 20 run (Spencer Peppenger kick)
S — Blaise Meriwether 9 run (Peppenger kick)
G — Blain 14 run (Purdy kick)
G — Drew Deck 6 pass from Evan Todd (Purdy kick)
S — Ortt 1 run (Peppenger kick)
S — Brendon Hill 42 pass from Ortt (Peppenger kick)
G — Deck 24 pass from Todd (Purdy kick)
S — Ortt 4 run (Peppenger kick)
First downs 18 21
Rushes-yards 43-185 34-185
Passing yards 126 184
Passing (att-com-int) 8-15-0 17-26-3
Penalties 8-65 9-84
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-avg 5-43.2 2-30.5
Kickoff returns 5-104 4-123
Int (no.-yds) 3-18 0-0
RUSHING — Sentinel, Elias Dewaters 23-138, Rylan Ortt 14-55, Blaise Meriwether 4-18; Glacier, Preston Blain 26-170, Drew Deck 2-23.
PASSING — Sentinel, Rylan Ortt 8-15-0-1-126; Glacier, Evan Todd 17-26-3-2-184.
RECEIVING — Sentinel, Jack Colyer 3-42, Jace Dewalt 2-18, Brendon Hill 1-42; Preston Jones 1-21; Glacier, Drew Deck 8-112, Colin Bowden 3-28, Preston Blain 2-17, Cole Crosby 2-16.