Fireworks and celebrations rung around Legends Stadium deep into Friday night. And that was before the game even finished.
Glacier (13-0) capped its season with a bang, trouncing Great Falls C.M. Russell 56-19 in the Class AA state football championship game, winning its first state title with an emphatic performance against the third-seeded Rustlers (10-3).
The Wolfpack held control from the opening kick, never relenting until it lifted the trophy at the end.
“They came to take this, there was no messing around,” Glacier coach Grady Bennett said.
“They came out to get a championship ... What I’m so proud of is they showed up tonight to get it. Not just hope, not assume.”
Glacier made a statement on the game’s first drive. The Wolfpack tackled CMR running back Andrew Grinde in the backfield for a three-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage. On the second play, it forced a fumble, and recovered on the Rustler 13-yard line.
Five plays later, Glacier scored on a 2-yard run from Thomas Trefney.
“That set it all off,” Glacier senior safety Tucker Rauthe said.
“It got the momentum going, it got the crowd pumped up, it got our players pumped up. We just rolled from there.”
CMR drove for a touchdown to close the first quarter, a drive extended by a fourth-down penalty by the Wolfpack, and was down 7-6 after a missed extra point.
The first play of Glacier’s next drive, Trefney broke through the right side of the line and into open space, running 72 yards for a touchdown.
Glacier senior cornerback Cain Boschee intercepted CMR on its next two drives, sandwiching another Trefney touchdown.
By halftime, Glacier led 35-12 and looked to be well on its way to securing the title.
“Last time (Week 2), we struggled defensively,” Boschee said. “We felt it was the secondary’s fault they put up so many points. We decided this week we would step up and do our thing.
“We knew our offense doesn’t let many drives go without getting points. We knew every stop meant points for us.”
The Glacier defense held Grinde, a 2,000-yard back this season, to 39 yards in the first half and 83 in the game, just the second time this season he’s been held under 100 yards.
The Wolfpack forced CMR to three-and-outs on all but two drives after half, the first a turnover on downs and the last a punt after a seven-play drive.
At the same time, Glacier was putting an exclamation point on the contest, Brady McChesney connecting for touchdowns on three straight drives in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Devin Cochran got behind the defense for a 55-yard score, Jacob Janke caught his second touchdown pass of the night on a 20-yard streak up the sidelines and Logan Jones got free out of the backfield for three yards, each going untouched into the end zone.
“We knew from the first play of the game we were going to have to come out hungry and booming,” Jones said.
“That’s what we did and we rode off with it. It’s amazing how we played and how we performed tonight.”
Bryce Cuchine had 137 yards receiving to lead CMR and Dallas Farren finished 11 for 29 passing for 228 yards and a pair of touchdowns and interceptions.
“We can’t give the ball to them that many times with a short field,” CMR coach Gary Lowry said. “They took advantage of it. You just can’t do it with a great team like that. You can’t turn it over.
“They just keep coming after you. They have too many weapons. We didn’t play very well, but credit to the Wolfpack.”
Trefney finished with 205 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the Pack. McChesney was 19 for 34 passing for 255 yards and four touchdowns. Cochran led the team 137 yards receiving.
This championship was the first football title for Glacier and the first in Kalispell since 1970. It was the first title game win for a Kalispell school since 1959.
“I still can’t even imagine it right now,” McChesney said. “We wanted to leave a legacy and here it is.”
CMR 6 13 0 0 — 19
Glacier 7 28 21 0 — 56
G — Thomas Trefney 2 run (Brandon Purdy kick), 9:53
CMR — Dallas Farren 1 run (kick miss), :02
G — Trefney 72 run (Purdy kick), 11:49
G — Trefney 6 run (Purdy kick), 7:14
G — Trefney 17 run (Purdy kick), 4:56
CMR — Bryce Cuchine 30 pass from Farren (run failed), 2:59
G — Jacob Janke 15 pass from Brady McChesney (Purdy kick), 2:07
CMR — Cuchine 34 pass from Farren (Dylan Sandefur kick), :43
G — Devin Cochran 55 pass from McChesney (Purdy kick), 6:47
G — Janke 20 pass from McChesney (Purdy kick), 3:39
G — Logan Jones 3 pass from McChesney (Purdy kick), 1:29
First downs 13 20
Total yards 326 529
Rushes-Yds 40-98 34-259
Passing Yds 228 270
Comp-Att-Int 11-29-2 20-35-0
Punts-Avg 5-35 2-41
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yds 4-30 8-40
RUSHING — CMR, Andrew Grinde 29-83, Patrick McAllister 2-10, Dallas Farren 5-3, Trevor Pepin 1-2, Karl Tucker II 1-1, Sean Morris 1-1, Bryce Cuchine 1-(-2). Glacier, Thomas Trefney 22-201, Logan Jones 8-41, Brady McChesney 1-8, Tucker Rauthe 1-7, Patrick O’Connell 1-2, Alex Stewart 1-0.
PASSING — CMR, Dallas Farren 11-29-2-228. Glacier, Brady McChesney 19-34-0-255, Sam McCamley 1-1-0-15.
RECEIVING — CMR, Bryce Cuchine 5-137, Zach Harper 2-36, Kam Mims 2-28, Karl Tucker II 1-19, Jacon Bohnmiller 1-8. Glacier, Devin Cochran 5-137, Jacob Janke 6-74, Sam McCamley 4-34, Logan Jones 3-24, Noah Lindsay 1-6, Thomas Trefney 1-(-5).
Glacier's Thomas Trefney breaks a tackle during the first quarter. (Aaric Bryan/Daily Inter Lake)
Glacier's Devin Cochran catches a 55-yard touchdown in the third quarter. (Aaric Bryan/Daily Inter Lake)
Glacier's Sam McCamley is pushed out of bounds by CMR's Evan O'Neill after a catch in the first quarter. (Aaric Bryan/Daily Inter Lake)
Devin Cochran (5) and Jacob Janke (87) embrace during the fourth quarter of the Wolfpack's 56-19 victory in the AA State Championship. (Aaric Bryan/Daily Inter Lake)
Glacier's Jaxen Hashley (40) wraps up CMR's Andrew Grinde as Tadan Gilman (3) hits him in this 2014 file photo. (Aaric Bryan/Daily Inter Lake)