Wolfpack rally past Great Falls for playoff triumph

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The Glacier Wolfpack football team will be moving to the quarterfinals of the Montana Class AA football playoffs after they went to Great Falls and beat the Bison, 33-24, Friday night.

The Wolfpack, seeded fifth in the West, evened their season record at 5-5 as they held off the No. 4 seeded team from the East.

“It’s huge for us,” Wolfpack head coach Grady Bennett said. “Winning on the road is hard and winning on the road in the playoffs is even harder so it’s a pretty good feeling.”

Both teams traded punches in the first half but the Bison kicked a field goal near the end of the first half to take a 17-13 lead into the lockerroom.

The Bison picked off a Glacier pass to start the third quarter, but the Wolfpack returned the favor with an interception by Drew Deck to put them in business at the Bison 20.

A few minutes later, Glacier took the lead for good when Jake Rendina scored a rushing touchdown to make it 20-17.

The Bison picked off another Wolfpack pass with about three minutes left in the third quarter and had it at their 46.

But the Wolfpack defense stood strong and forced a punt.

“That was a huge sequence for us,” Bennett said. “We gave up some big plays, but our defense made some key stops when they had to.”

Glacier then embarked on a lengthy drive that lasted into the fourth quarter and ended with a Braedy Santens touchdown run on fourth-and-goal to make it 27-17.

Great Falls responded with a scoring drive to cut the lead to 27-24 and then forced the Wolfpack to punt.

But the Bison was pinned inside their 20 and the Wolfpack defense stood tall once again, holding on downs.

“That was definitely the turning point,” Bennett said.

Shortly after, a Glacier TD pass from JT Allen to Luke Bilau with a minute left on fourth down made it 33-24.

The Wolfpack put the finishing touches on the win with a late interception, Deck’s second pick of the game.

The Wolfpack scored first when Allen hit Colin Bowden for a TD pass in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead. Great Falls responded with two TDs to make it 14-6 before Glacier answered with a TD to make it 14-13.

A late field goal by the Bison made it 17-13 at halftime.

Glacier will await the result of today’s game between Billings Senior and Missoula Hellgate to determine their opponent next Friday.

According to Glacier athletic director Mark Dennehy, if Billings Senior wins, the Wolfpack will play Butte. If Hellgate wins, Glacier takes on Missoula Sentinel.

Sentinel slammed Billings Skyview, 45-7, Friday. Top-seeded Butte had a first-round bye.

“We’re playing our best football right now and we look forward to next week,” Bennett said.

Complete statistics were unavailable.

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