Glacier promptly lost their quarterback, then lost a gritty contest against No. 1 Bozeman, falling 38-22 and dropping its record to 0-3 on the Class AA football season Friday night at Legends Stadium.
Just four plays into the opening possession, a vicious tackle knocked senior quarterback Evan Todd out of the game with concussion symptoms. Bozeman (3-0) was called for targeting and sophomore JT Allen replaced Todd.
On the defensive side, the Wolfpack immediately struggled to contain senior running back Joe Olson. He battered through Glacier’s defensive line on Bozeman’s initial drive, setting Bozeman up in the red zone before catching an easy touchdown pass on a seam route. He would finish the game with 228 yards rushing on 28 attempts and two touchdowns.
But the resilient Wolfpack responded. Junior Aidan Smith hauled in an interception, then Preston Blain reached the end zone in two plays, the latter a 41-yard gallop through the heart of the Hawk defense.
Blain accounted for most of the Wolfpack’s offense, gaining 179 yards on the ground on 29 attempts with two rushing touchdowns.
The game was never out of reach for Glacier. Despite going down 24-6 at halftime, the defense stifled Bozeman’s running attack early in the second half. On their opening possession, Wolfpack receiver Drew Deck took the ball into the red zone on a 40-yard catch and run, and Blain followed with an 11-yard touchdown carry. A two-point conversion made it 24-14.
It was the response Glacier head coach Grady Bennett asked for.
“I wanted the second half to be the same thing we showed [in the first half], that heart, that desire and that fight,” he said after the game. “I asked them to let the second half propel us into the rest of our season,”
But turnovers sabotaged any hope for a Glacier comeback.
On the last play of the third quarter, Allen threw a ball up for grabs in Bozeman territory and it was intercepted by the Hawks. The following possession — with Glacier down 31-14 — a strip sack led to a fumble that was scooped up and returned for a touchdown by the Hawks’ Kenneth Eiden.
Glacier managed to make it a two-possession game with a 15-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Daniel Kernan to Deck with 2:11 remaining, but the untimely turnovers already sealed a second consecutive 0-3 start for the Wolfpack.
Bennett was quick to heap praise on his team’s performance.
“We had a lot of issues coming into this game, and we just asked them to give the effort. And our kids fought like crazy,” he said. “We’ll be a different team from this point on, I’m confident that we are now. We learned a ton about ourselves tonight.”
Glacier 6 0 8 8 – 22
Bozeman 14 10 7 7 – 38
B – Joe Olson 11 pass from Kristopher Brown (Everest Allen kick), 6:46
G – Preston Blain 41 run (Travos Proulx kick no good), 3:20
B – Olson 3 run (kick good), 1:23
B – Klien 34 field goal, 7:30
B – Olson 3 run (kick good), 3:59
G – Blain 11 run (PAT Colin Bowden pass from JT Allen)
B – Ryan Lonergan 26 pass from Brown (kick good)
B – Kenneth Eiden 13 fumble return (kick good)
G – Drew Deck 15 pass from Daniel Kernan (PAT Eli Hunt pass from Deck)
First Downs 18 25
Rushes-yards 45-148 42-277
Passing yards 146 225
Comp-Att-Int 13-18-1 13-22-3
Total offense 294 504
Fumbles-lost 3-3 1-1
Punts-avg 6-36.8 3-29.7
Penalties-yards 11-107 13-129
RUSHING - BOZ: Joe Olson 27-228, Kristopher Brown 8-40, McCade O’Reilly 3-18, Greyson Cetaro 4-6. GLA: Preston Blain 29-179, Austin Blain 2-9, Drew Deck 1-5, Evan Todd 1-2, Tim Brough 1-1, Cole Crosby 1-0, Daniel Kernan, 1-0, JT Allen 9-23.
PASSING — NA
RECEIVING — NA