AA doubleheader for Flathead, Glacier football

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By DAVID LESNICK

The Daily Inter Lake

Two weeks does not define a football season, and coaches Kyle Samson of Flathead and Grady Bennett of Glacier were quick to remind their respective programs of that during practices in preparation for their third games on the 2018 schedule.

Flathead is off to a great start — 2-0 and ranked No. 2 in the AA prep poll.

Glacier is off to a rough go — 0-2 after two tough road battles in Billings and Great Falls.

Both AA teams are home this weekend for a Legends Stadium blockbuster doubleheader.

Flathead takes the field first for a 4 p.m. kickoff with Billings West (1-1) tonight.

Glacier will kick off at 7:30 p.m. versus top-ranked Bozeman (2-0).

This marks the first time Flathead and Glacier have shared the same field for Friday night lights.

There are five unbeaten teams in AA — Great Falls High, Helena High and Missoula Sentinel the other three — and five are winless — Billings Skyview, Helena Capital, Missoula Big Sky and Missoula Hellgate the other four.

Billings Senior, Butte and Great Falls High all check in at 1-1.

Flathead vs. Billings West

So far, so good for the Braves.

Everyone is healthy, they have outscored the opposition — Butte and Helena Capital — 79-30 — and have just one turnover.

“I think it’s not something we worry about with our kids,” Samson said of getting caught looking ahead after two big victories.

“I’m very proud of what we did last week. Going into the season we had high expectations. We have a good group of kids who understand that you have to get better week by week — take it one week at a time. It speaks to the leadership we have — the five captains. You can’t look past anyone, always focus one week at a time.

“West is one of the best teams in the state,” he added.

“This will be a great opportunity for us.”

Samson is pleased with the offensive showing to date.

“It starts up front with the o-line,” he said.

Defense has been equally deserving of praise.

“I’m very proud of our defense,” he said.

“They did a tremendous job last week. They didn’t give up a third down last week. Capital was 0-9 on third downs.”

The challenges on both sides of the ball continue this week with West.

“Very talented, a lot of skilled kids, big up front,” Samson said of the Golden Bears. “They lost by only four points to Bozeman (last week), it could have gone either way. I think they are one of the best teams in the state of Montana. They have a lot of guys with experience back.”

Samson said the turnover battle and special teams play will be critical in this one.

“That will play a big role in this game,” he said.

Both teams have a kickoff return for a touchdown.

While Flathead has turned it over just once, the Braves have just one turnover on defense.

“One of the things we’ve been working on, focusing on in practice is to get a couple more (turnovers) for our defense,” he said.

After the West battle, Flathead heads to Missoula to face Sentinel at Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Sept. 14, followed by the crosstown game with Glacier on Sept. 21, which will mark the halfway point of the season.

Glacier vs. Bozeman

This — being 0-2 — is not foreign territory for the Wolfpack.

“We’ve started this way so many times,” Bennett said.

“It’s something we didn’t want to repeat ... being 0-2, 0-1 or 0-3 and then have been able to turn it around. The good news is we have done it several times, we’ve been able to overcome slow starts and put together a really good season. The main thing is coming to work every day and trying to get better.”

Bennett knew it would be a challenging start, facing “three of the best teams in the state” right off the bat. “We have to get better, get better soon.”

Drew Deck, a junior wide receiver/cornerback, returns after missing last week’s contest with an injury.

Darin Rashleigh, a senior cornerback, also returns.

“We lost both starting corners against Senior,” Bennett said.

“Defensively we were OK, we overcame it.”

But Deck “is a dynamic player” in the Glacier offense.

“Our defense played great,” Bennett said at CMR.

“Offensively, we couldn’t get anything going. It was very frustrating. CMR did some things we weren’t prepared for. They really played well.”

CMR held Glacier to three first downs, 60 yards rushing and 53 passing. It was the first time the Wolfpack failed to score in a football game since its first season in 2007 — a 49-0 loss to Bozeman in Week 2 and a 63-0 loss to Capital in Week 6.

“We have to start better,” Bennett said this week.

“We started really slow in both games.

“Against Senior I told the guys I could understand that a little bit ... first game, Friday night lights, but once you get the feel of Friday night lights you have to come ready to play, ready to compete.”

Turnovers have not been an issue for Glacier on offense, but last week penalties were a problem. Glacier had 11 for 112 yards.

Bennett said after “two long, tough road trips” it’s nice to be home.

Glacier’s next three games are at Legends Stadium. Week 4 the Wolfpack hosts Helena High followed by Flathead and Missoula Sentinel.

AA Standings

W L

Helena High 3 0 Bozeman 2 0

Flathead 2 0

Great Falls High 2 0

Missoula Sentinel 2 0

Billings Senior 1 1

Billings West 1 1

Butte 1 1

Great Falls C.M. Russell 1 1

Billings Skyview 0 2

Glacier 0 2

Helena Capital 0 2

Missoula Big Sky 0 2

Missoula Hellgate 0 3

Thursday’s Game

Helena High 56, Missoula Hellgate 14

Today’s Games

4 p.m. — Billings West at Flathead

7:30 p.m. — Bozeman at Glacier

7 p.m. — C.M. Russell at Missoula Big Sky

7 p.m. — Butte at Helena Capital

7 p.m. — Missoula Sentinel at Great Falls High

7 p.m. — Billings Senior at Billings Skyview

Last Friday

Flathead 37, Helena Capital 9

Great Falls C.M. Russell 9, Glacier 0

Bozeman 37, Billings West 33

Butte 42, Missoula Hellgate 6

Great Falls High 42, Billings Skyview 3

Helena High 41, Billings Senior 14

Missoula Sentinel 56, Missoula Big Sky 34

High School Football Rankings

After Two Weeks

406mtsports.com

Class AA

1. Bozeman (2-0)

2. Missoula Sentinel (2-0)

3. Flathead (2-0)

4. Helena (2-0)

5. Great Falls (2-0)

Class A

1. Hamilton (2-0)

2. Billings Central (2-0)

3. Belgrade (2-0)

4. Dillon (1-0)

5. Columbia Falls (0-1)

Class B

1. Eureka (2-0)

2. Colstrip (3-0)

3. Missoula Loyola (2-0)

4. Townsend (2-0)

5. Fairfield (1-0)

6. Columbus (2-0)

7. Bigfork (2-0)

8. Roundup (1-0)

9. Florence (2-0)

10. Big Timber (1-0)

Class C 8-Man

1. Drummond-Philipsburg (2-0)

2. Shelby (1-0)

3. Charlo (2-0)

4. Fairview (2-0)

5. Joliet (2-0)

6. Great Falls Central (2-0)

7. Choteau (2-0)

8. Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap (2-0)

9. Scobey (2-0)

10. Centerville (2-0)

Class C 6-Man

1. Westby-Grenora (2-0)

2. Wibaux (2-0)

3. Bridger (2-0)

4. Big Sandy (2-0)

5. Richey-Lambert (2-0)

6. White Sulphur Springs (2-0)

7. Grass Range-Winnett (3-0)

8. Noxon (2-0)

9. Geraldine-Highwood (2-0)

10. Hot Springs (1-1)

Class A Standings

Northwest

W L

Browning 1 1

Libby 1 1

Columbia Falls 0 1

Ronan 0 1

Whitefish 0 2

Polson 0 3

Thursday’s Score

Corvallis 48, Polson 0

Tonight’s Schedule

7 p.m. — Dillon at Columbia Falls

7 p.m. — Butte Central at Whitefish

7 p.m. — Hamilton at Browning

7 p.m. — Libby at Frenchtown

7 p.m. — Stevensville at Ronan

Last Week

Hamilton 35, Columbia Falls 24

Browning 50, Stevensville 41

Corvallis 42, Libby 31

Dillon 40, Polson 14

Frenchtown 38, Whitefish 2

Western B Standings

W L

Bigfork 2 0

Florence-Carlton 2 0

Eureka 2 0

Missoula Loyola 2 0

Anaconda 0 2

Deer Lodge 0 2

Thompson Falls 0 2

Tonight’s Schedule

7 p.m. — Florence-Carlton at Bigfork

7 p.m. — Eureka at Thompson Falls

7 p.m. — Anaconda at Deer Lodge

7 p.m. — Fairfield at Missoula Loyola

Last Week

Bigfork 51, Anaconda 0

Eureka 48, Conrad 6

Missoula Loyola 36, Whitehall 12

Cut Bank 57, Thompson Falls 32

Florence-Carlton 40, Salmon, Idaho 0

Fairfield 49, Deer Lodge 12

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