Flathead heads to Bozeman; Glacier entertains Sentinel

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  • Flathead charges out onto the field before their crosstown matchup with Glacier at Legends Stadium on Friday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    Glacier heads out onto the field for their matchup with Helena at Legends Stadium on Friday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • Flathead charges out onto the field before their crosstown matchup with Glacier at Legends Stadium on Friday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    Glacier heads out onto the field for their matchup with Helena at Legends Stadium on Friday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

Five games down, five games left, so the playoff push is on for high school football.

Top-ranked Bozeman is the lone unbeaten team with Billings Skyview the only winless one left at the season’s midway point.

Four teams, including Flathead, are 4-1 while three, including Glacier, are 1-4.

There are still plenty of chances, or games, for teams to jockey for those coveted high playoff seeds and be hosts for postseason action.

Bozeman made the playoffs last year with a 5-5 mark.

On the schedule this week for Flathead is a road trip to No. 1 Bozeman. The Braves have won two straight thrillers — blocking a field goal to edge Missoula Sentinel 34-31 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium and then last week at Legends Stadium stopping a two-point conversion by Glacier with 2:14 left for a 28-27 victory.

Glacier, which opened the season with three losses before crushing then ranked No. 3 Helena High 48-14, is home versus Missoula Sentinel.

Three of Glacier’s final five games are home.

It’s the opposite for Flathead with three of its final five on the road, including another contest in Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Oct. 19 versus a much improved Missoula Hellgate team.

Flathead

Flathead had little time to enjoy its crosstown win over Glacier with Bozeman up next.

The win over the Wolfpack gave Flathead back-to-back crosstown victories for the first time since the first two games of the series.

Glacier won eight straight during the other stretch.

“To win two in a row is a huge for our program,” Flathead coach Kyle Samson said.

“It’s something we’re very proud of, a huge stepping stone for us.”

On pulling out tight wins over two tough teams ...

“Our kids hung tough,” Samson said.

“It was a huge emotional game (crosstown). The kids did a great job in a tremendous atmosphere to pull it out in the end like we did. It shows the character of our kids. It will pay off. The kids really believe they can win close games. That’s important, a sign of a good football team.”

Flathead beat Bozeman last year at Legends Stadium, a 17-7 homecoming win. That put the Braves at 3-2 while Bozeman was 3-3.

“I’m excited (to be playing) Bozeman,” Samson said.

“They are a great team, but we feel like we’re a pretty dang good team, ready for the challenge.

“A big challenge,” he continued.

“We feel confident going on the road, we’re undefeated on the road. We feel like we matchup well with them.

“This is why you want to play football. If we are going to be the best, you have to beat the best, rise up to the challenge for sure.”

Samson said the key to leaving Bozeman with a victory will fall on ball control and no turnovers.

“The big thing on the road, make sure you don’t turn the ball over, control the line of scrimmage,” he said.

“They are good up front and that’s our strength as well.

“Control the clock,” he continued.

“We have done a great job of that with our running game. The big thing is to start fast on the road, make sure we can score early.”

He says that will help the Braves defensively.

“I’m happy with were we are at — 4-1,” he said.

“But not satisfied. We know we have to get better every week.”

Blake Counts had another big outing for the Braves versus Glacier, rushing for 173 yards on 38 carries and two touchdowns. The senior has now rushed for 1,008 on the season.

Glacier

The rough part is over, the schedule from here on out is much more manageable for coach Grady Bennett and the Wolfpack.

No ranked teams for the next five weeks will be a welcome relief after a grueling run of ranked teams and a two-time defending state champion.

“Absolutely, that’s what we told our kids all week,” Bennett said of the season not being over.

“I think the good news is we’ve clearly seen what we are capable of with our performance against Helena, added to that our performances with (Billings) Senior and Flathead. We just came up short.

“We had that one great taste of what it’s like against Helena High.

“We know what we are capable of,” he continued.

“Hopefully it is easier to convince them of their potential. (Players have to) just keep believing, trusting. It’s easy for doubt to set in. They have to believe in their teammates, believe in the coaches. That’s the key. I told the boys at the beginning of the week their character will be revealed now. There is no room for error, their backs are to the wall. It’s a good group of kids. I know they have it in them. I know what they are capable of.”

Versus Sentinel, Bennett is hoping the Glacier defense continues to perform at a high level.

“They have played really consistently well,” he said.

“Our offense has been hit and miss, a little off and on. If the offense gets it going, like against Helena, we come out fast, be consistent, put points on the board, that will help our defense. That’s key (for tonight).”

Senior quarterback Evan Todd has completed 49 of 87 passes for 699 yards, six touchdowns and has been intercepted four times.

Preston Blain is the leading rusher with 622 yards on 114 totes for a 5.5-yard per carry average. He has scored eight touchdowns.

Drew Deck has been Todd’s main target with 26 receptions for 319 yards and two touchdowns.

Danny Anderson and Travis Proulx have two TD catches each.

Ethan Baines, Cole Crosby and Garrett Frost have been the defensive leaders.

Baines, senior lineman, has 30 unassisted tackles, 20 assisted and 13 tackles for loss.

Crosby, senior linebacker, has 27, 26 and 2 and Frost 24, 15 and 0.

Frost, a senior defensive back, has two of the team’s five interceptions.

Rankings

By 406mtsports.com

Through Sept. 22

Class AA

1. Bozeman (5-0)

2. Billings West (4-1)

3. Great Falls (4-1)

4. Flathead (4-1)

5. Helena (4-1)

Class A

1. Hamilton (5-0)

2. Billings Central (5-0)

3. Columbia Falls (3-1)

4. Frenchtown (5-0)

5. Laurel (4-1)

Class B

1. Bigfork (5-0)

2. Fairfield (4-0)

3. Roundup (4-0)

4. Big Timber (4-0)

5. Missoula Loyola (4-1)

6. Colstrip (4-1)

7. Columbus (3-1)

8. Florence (4-1)

9. Eureka (3-2)

10. Huntley Project (3-2)

Class C 8-Man

1. Drummond-Philipsburg (5-0)

2. Shelby (4-0)

3. Fairview (5-0)

4. Great Falls Central (5-0)

5. Joliet (5-0)

6. Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap (5-0)

7. Charlo (4-1)

8. Centerville (5-0)

9. Culbertson (5-0)

10. Circle (4-1)

Class C 6-Man

1. Wibaux (5-0)

2. Geraldine-Highwood (4-1)

3. Grass Range-Winnett (6-0)

4. Richey-Lambert (4-1)

5. Westby-Grenora (4-1)

6. Hot Springs (4-1)

7. West Yellowstone (4-1)

8. Bridger (4-1)

9. White Sulphur Springs (4-1)

10. Denton-Geyser-Stanford (4-1)

Standings

Class AA

W L

Bozeman 5 0

Billings West 4 1

Great Falls High 4 1

Helena High 4 1

Flathead 4 1

Billings Senior 3 2

Butte 2 3

Helena Capital 2 3

Missoula Sentinel 2 3

Missoula Big Sky 2 3

Great Falls CMR 1 4

Glacier 1 4

Missoula Hellgate 1 4

Billings Skyview 0 5

Tonight’s Games

4 p.m. — Missoula Hellgate at Billings Skyview

7 p.m. — Flathead at Bozeman

7 p.m.— Missoula Sentinel at Glacier

7 p.m. — Billings Senior at Missoula Big Sky

7 p.m. — Butte at Billings West

7 p.m.— Helena Capital at Great Falls C.M. Russell

7 p.m. — Great Falls High at Helena High

Last Week

Flathead 28, Glacier 27

Billings West 44, Billings Skyview 0

Butte 39, Missoula Sentinel 38, OT

Great Falls High 32, Missoula Big Sky 17

Helena High 20, Helena Capital 17

Missoula Hellgate 28, Great Falls C.M. Russell 20

Bozeman 36, Billings Senior 29

Class A

Northwestern

Conf. Overall

W L W L

Columbia Falls 1 0 3 1

Whitefish 1 0 3 2

Ronan 1 0 1 3

Browning 0 1 1 4

Libby 0 1 1 4

Polson 0 1 0 5

Tonight’s Games

7 p.m. — Columbia Falls at Browning

7 p.m. — Whitefish at Ronan

7 p.m. — Polson at Libby

Southwestern

Conf. Overall

Frenchtown 1 0 5 0

Hamilton 1 0 5 0

Dillon 1 0 3 1

Corvallis 0 1 3 2

Butte Central 0 1 2 2

Stevensville 0 1 2 3

Eastern

Conf./Overall

Billings Central 5 0

Laurel 4 1

Belgrade 4 1

Lewistown 4 1

Miles City 2 3

Sidney 2 3

Glendive 2 3

Havre 1 4

Livingston 1 4

Hardin 0 5

Class B

Western B

Conf. Overall

W L W L

Bigfork 4 0 5 0

Missoula Loyola 2 0 4 1

Deer Lodge 1 1 1 3

Florence 1 1 4 1

Eureka 1 2 3 2

Thompson Falls 0 2 0 5

Anaconda 0 3 0 5

Tonight’s Games

6 p.m. — Eureka at Anaconda

7 p.m. — Deer Lodge at Florence

7 p.m. — Missoula Loyola at Thompson Falls

Bigfork has a bye

Eastern

Conf. Overall

Roundup 3 0 4 0

Colstrip 1 1 4 1

Huntley Project 1 1 3 2

Red Lodge 1 1 1 4

Shepherd 0 1 1 4

Baker 0 2 1 3

Southern

Conf. Overall

Big Timber 3 0 4 0

Manhattan 2 1 2 3

Townsend 2 2 3 2

Columbus 1 1 3 1

Whitehall 1 1 2 3

Three Forks 1 2 3 2

Jefferson 0 3 1 4

Northern

Conf. Overall

Fairfield 2 0 4 0

Malta 2 0 2 2

Cut Bank 2 1 3 2

Glasgow 2 1 2 2

Wolf Point 1 1 1 3

Conrad 0 3 0 4

Harlem 0 3 0 3

8 Man

East

Conf. Overall

W L W L

Culbertson 5 0 5 0

Fairview 5 0 5 0

Circle 4 1 4 1

Scobey 3 2 3 2

Broadus 2 3 2 3

Plentywood 2 3 2 3

Forsyth 2 3 2 3

Lame Deer 1 4 1 4

Lodge Grass 1 4 1 4

St. Labre 0 5 0 5

South

Conf. Overall

W L W L

Joliet 4 0 5 0

Hobson/Moore/Judith Gap 4 0 5 0

Park City 3 1 3 1

Ennis 2 2 2 3

Twin Bridges 2 2 2 3

Lone Peak 1 3 2 3

Absarokee 0 4 0 5

Harlowton 0 4 1 4

North

A Sub Division

Conf. Overall

Great Falls Central 4 0 5 0

Choteau 2 1 3 2

Chester/Joplin/Inverness 2 1 4 1

Box Elder 1 2 1 3

Belt 1 2 1 3

Hays/Lodgepole 0 3 0 4

B Sub Division

Conf. Overall

Centerville 4 0 5 0

Shelby 4 0 4 0

Simms 2 2 2 2

Chinook 3 2 3 2

Fort Benton 1 3 1 4

Cascade 1 3 1 4

Rocky Boy 0 5 0 5

West

Conf. Overall

Drummond/Philipsburg 5 0 5 0

Alberton/Superior 4 1 4 1

Charlo 4 1 4 1

Arlee 4 1 4 1

St. Ignatius 3 2 3 2

Darby 2 3 2 3

Plains 1 4 1 4

Seeley/Swan 1 4 1 4

Victor 1 4 1 4

Troy 0 5 0 5

6 Man

East

Conf. Overall

W L W L

Wibaux 4 0 5 0

Richey/Lambert 3 0 4 1

Westby/Grenora 2 1 4 1

Bainville 2 2 3 2

Savage 2 3 2 3

Jordan 1 2 3 2

Ekalaka 1 3 1 3

Froid/Lake 0 4 0 4

South

Conf. Overall

Grass Range/Winnett 5 0 6 0

Roy/Winifred 5 0 5 0

Bridger 4 1 4 1

Fromberg 3 2 3 2

Shields Valley 3 2 3 2

Broadview/Lavina 2 3 2 3

Reed Point/Rapelje 2 3 2 3

Plenty Coups 1 4 1 4

Northern Cheyenne 0 5 0 5

Custer/Hysham 0 5 0 5

North

Conf. Overall

Denton/Geyser/Stanford 4 0 4 1?

Geraldine/Highwood 3 0 4 1

Big Sandy 3 1 3 2

Sunburst 3 1 3 2

Power/Dutton/Brady 1 3 2 3

North Star 1 3 1 3

Valier 0 3 1 3

Heart Butte 0 4 0 5

West

Conf. Overall

White Sulphur Springs 4 1 4 1

West Yellowstone 4 1 4 1

Hot Springs 3 1 4 1

Valley Christian 3 1 3 2

Noxon 3 2 3 2

Gardiner 1 3 1 4

Sheridan 1 3 2 3

Lincoln 1 4 1 4

Lima 0 4 0 4

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