Drew Turner shrugged off an early injury and rumbled 76 yards for a clinching late touchdown to send the Glacier Wolfpack to their third straight win, 28-14 over Helena Capital at Legends Stadium on Friday night.
Turner’s long run came with just over two minutes left in the game and the Wolfpack (3-0) nursing a 21-14 lead. Facing third and six at its own 24-yard line, Tadan Gilman stuck the ball in Turner’s belly on the read option and the 6-foot, 205-pound back powered through the middle of the line before exploding down the right sideline and running away from the defense.
Turner left the game in the first quarter with a lower calf injury and did not play the rest of the first half. The junior played sparingly in the second half but was sensational when called upon late.
“What a gutty effort by him,” Glacier coach Grady Bennett said of Turner. “Game on the line, shoot, he steps up in a big way. When he first broke free, I thought there was no way he was going to outrun them the way he was hobbling around.”
After putting up big offensive numbers in two road wins to start the season, Friday’s game was a defensive struggle. The Wolfpack finished with 313 yards of total offense, with nearly a quarter of that coming on Turner’s late jaunt.
Glacier’s defense, though, was even better than the Bruins, holding Capital to just 245 total yards and forcing quarterback Carter Pappas into an uneven 10 for 33 passing day that accounted for just 94 yards. That was a vast improvement from a week ago when Bozeman lit up the Glacier defense for 45 points in the Pack’s wild 49-45 win.
“Here’s what I love about teams that aspire to win championships,” Bennett said. “The defense last week needed the offense to have their back and they did that for them. Then tonight, as we we’re bumbling and stumbling a little bit, the defense had [the offense’s] back for them. They just kept coming out and getting stops.
“We were able to get great pressure with our front four and drop seven into coverage,” he continued. “And our secondary did a great job tonight.”
Tied at 14 entering the fourth quarter, Glacier took the lead for good on a six-play, 47-yard drive midway through the final period. Turner capped that scoring drive, too, catching a 15-yard pass from Gilman to make the score 21-14.
Turner finished with 142 yards rushing on 20 carries. He accounted for three of Glacier’s touchdowns, opening the scoring with a 5-yard plunge into the end zone on the first drive of the game.
Capital (1-2) responded on the very next possession to tie the score, going 66 yards in 11 plays, capped by a Seth Schneider 17-yard touchdown run.
Cole Crosby put the Wolfpack in front with a 1-yard scoring run midway through the second quarter and Glacier led 14-7 at halftime.
The Wolfpack turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions midway through the third quarter, dodging a bullet the first time when Bradley Haller missed a 31-yard field goal after a Gilman interception. One play later, however, Gilman fumbled at his own 17 and two plays after the change of possession Pappas hit Marcus Welnel with a 16-yard touchdown pass to pull Capital even.
The Glacier offense sputtered for much of the second half, until Turner’s two late scores.
“[Capital]’s defense is so disciplined, they do not beat themselves,” Bennett said. “They kind of made us beat ourselves for a while there, too. We were a totally different offensive team tonight than we were the first couple of weeks.”
Gilman finished 11 for 22 through the air for 111 yards, adding 31 more yards on the ground. Patrick O’Connell was his top receiving target, hauling in three passes for 56 yards.
Schneider finished with 69 yards rushing on 14 carries to lead the Bruins.
Glacier returns to Legends Stadium Friday for homecoming when they take on Great Falls High at 7 p.m.
Capital 7 0 7 0 — 14
Glacier 7 7 0 14 — 28
GLA — Drew Turner 5 run (Cameron Anderson kick), 7:20
CAP — Seth Schneider 17 run (Brian Buschini kick), 2:51
GLA — Cole Crosby 1 run (Anderson kick), 6:39
CAP — Marcus Welnel 16 pass from Carter Pappas (Buschini kick), 7:58
GLA — Turner 15 pass from Tadan Gilman (Anderson kick), 6:44
GLA — Turner 76 run (Anderson kick), 2:03
First downs 15 13
Rushes-yards 37-151 43-202
Passing yards 94 111
Comp-Att-Int 10-33-1 11-22-1
Total offense 245 313
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2
Punts-avg 9-26 4-37
Penalties-yards 6-32 3-20
RUSHING — CAP: Seth Schneider 14-69, Payton Pappas 13-58, Carter Pappas 7-13, Mackenzie Duncan 2-10, Marcus Welnel 1-1. GLA: Drew Turner 20-142, Tadan Gilman 15-31, Cole Crosby 6-18, Scout Willcut 1-11.
PASSING — CAP: Carter Pappas 10-33-1-94. GLA: Tadan Gilman 11-22-1-111.
RECEIVING — CAP: Bradley Haller 4-44, Mackenzie Duncan 3-19, Marcus Welnel 1-16, Willie Gross 2-15. GLA: Patrick O’Connell 3-56, Scout Willcut 2-18, Drew Turner 1-15, Andrew Durado 2-12, Ethan Larson 3-10.
Glacier quarterback Tadan Gilman (3) scrambles during the first half against the Helena Capital Bruins on Friday night at Legends Stadium. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)
Glacier wide receiver Jackson Pepe narrowly misses making a catch early in the first half against the Helena Capital Bruins on Friday night. The pass was incomplete as Pepe was out of bounds. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)
Glacier running back Drew Turner (32) gets stopped after gaining a few yards during the first half against the Helena Capital Bruins on Friday night. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)
Glacier center Jarrett Kessler (55) clears a path through the Helena Capital Bruins defensive line for ball carrier Drew Turner during the first half against the Helena Capital Bruins on Friday night at Legends Stadium. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)