HELENA HEARTBREAK: Braves allow lead to slip away in 30-24 loss at Capital

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Helena heart break

for Flathead

Braves allow lead to slip away in loss at Capital, 30-24

The Daily Inter Lake

HELENA — For two quarters, the game went about as well as Flathead could have envisioned.

Quarterback Taylor Morton slung the ball around Helena Capital’s Vigilante Stadium seemingly with ease as the offense sustained drives and controlled the clock. Flathead found the explosiveness the offense lacked in its Week 1 win over Butte, as Morton connected with Anthony Jones for scores from 45 and 64 yards. The Braves’ defense kept the potent Capital rushing attack bottled up with the exception of one play.

When Flathead and Capital retreated to their respective locker rooms, the Braves held what seemed to be a commanding 21-10 lead over a consensus top 3 team in the state.

“Just what we wanted to do,” Flathead head coach Kyle Samson said. “We wanted to start fast, and we did a nice job of that.”

The hosts were not as gracious when they returned to the field.

Capital scored 20 unanswered points as the Flathead offense sputtered after halftime for the second straight week, and the Braves dropped their first game of the season 30-24 on Friday night.

“I thought we played three really good quarters — the first, second and fourth,” Samson said. “Our third quarter, we just didn’t come out and play as well as we could.

“Our field position wasn’t good the whole third quarter. Our offense— it seemed like we were backed up the whole time, and then they were always (on) a short field against our defense.”

Despite the rough third quarter, Flathead (1-1) bounced back in the fourth and had a chance to win in the final moments.

Late in the fourth, the Braves’ defense came up with a stop against the Bruins when it needed it most.

The offense marched down the field into the Capital red zone, but yet another penalty — perhaps the most costly of Flathead’s 13 on the night — put Morton and Co. behind the chains and stalled the drive.

“That’s something we’ve got to get shorred up,” the fourth-year coach said. “In order to win the big games against the best of the best, we’ve got to really do a better job with those penalties.”

A heave to the end zone on fourth-and-15 from the Bruins’ 23-yard line was intended for Jones, but fell instead into the waiting hands of a Capital defender.

“The third quarter wasn’t very good, but we didn’t give up,” Samson said. “We really fought back in that fourth quarter to give ourselves a chance to win it.”

Though the bump in the road that was the third quarter derailed Flathead’s hopes of an upset, the resiliency on display late in the game gave Samson hope for the days to come, starting with a pivotal trip to Billings West next week.

“I don’t feel down after this game,” Samson said. “I hate to lose, but I just feel like our kids did a great job. We just came up one score short.

“We’ll use it as a learning experience. We’ll be better because of it. We’ll hurt for a day, and then we’ll come back to work.”

Flathead 7 14 0 3 — 24

Capital 7 3 13 7 — 30

First quarter

F – Taylor Morton 3 run (Alex Coulter kick), 5:58

C – Seth Schneider 57 run (Brian Buschini kick), 5:25

Second quarter

F – Anthony Jones 45 pass from Morton (Coulter kick), 6:37

F – Jones 64 pass from Morton (Coulter kick)

C – Buschini 24 field goal, :00

Third quarter

C – Matt McGinley 1 run (Buschini kick), 6:41

C – Schneider 41 run (kick failed), 4:14

Fourth quarter

C – Brennan Casey 54 run (Buschini kick), 6:56

F – Coulter 39 field goal, 5:00

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