FOOTBALL: Former All-American linebacker joins Flathead football staff

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Sean Blomquist’s relationships with Flathead head football coach Kyle Samson and defensive coordinator Matt Upham date back to Blomquist’s days as a prep tandout at Helena High. This fall, Blomquist will reunite with Samson and Upham and roam the sidelines alongside them.

Blomquist, who went on to be an All-American linebacker and team captain at Carroll College, will coach the Braves’ linebackers as they look to return to the playoffs after falling short in 2016.

“I love the game of football,” Blomquist said. “I love the guys I’m going to be around, too, so I think that’s probably what I’m most excited about.”

“I’m excited to compete again, too. Now it’s in the coaching realm, but it’s always awesome to compete. It’s something you start to miss once you get out of it for a while.”

Blomquist has known Samson since high school, when the then-Montana State-Northern assistant recruited him to play for the Lights.

Carroll College ended up winning the recruiting battle, but Blomquist gained an admiration for Samson throughout the process that he’s never lost.

“Nothing but great things to say about Kyle,” Blomquist said. “I’ve always really respected him. He’s a hard guy not to like.”

Samson offered a similarly glowing review of his new assistant.

“I’m really excited to have Sean joining our staff,” Samson said.

“Looking forward to seeing him work with our linebackers and share what he knows with them. We have a great staff, but I’m always looking for guys who can bring more experience and knowledge.”

Blomquist, who briefly played for the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks before returning to Montana, also has a long-standing relationship with Upham that extends beyond the football field.

The two played together at Helena, where Upham was the quarterback, and Carroll, where Upham lined up behind Blomquist at safety. Blomquist will be the best man in Upham’s wedding next week, and the latter was an integral part of Samson’s push to bring Blomquist onto the Flathead staff.

The first-time coach is quick to acknowledge he has a lot to learn in a short amount of time — the Braves begin fall practice on Aug. 11 — but he does have the advantage of already knowing most of the defensive scheme he’ll be coaching.

“That’s a big benefit, especially kind of getting that late start here,” Blomquist said. “The scheme that Matt is running is pretty familiar to me from what we ran in college.”

Over the next four weeks, Blomquist’s primary focus will be familiarizing himself with the personnel and bonding with his players.

He said he’s ready to get started doing just that.

“I’ve got a lot of work to get to know these guys, but I’m excited about it,” Blomquist said.

“I think we’ve got some studs in there.

“They’ve got high expectations, and I think you need high expectations to be good. I’m just excited to be part of it.”

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