By DAVID LESNICK
The Daily Inter Lake
One would think Glacier would be more than happy to move on from last week’s gut-wrenching loss to Billings Senior at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium in Billings.
The Broncs answered Glacier’s go-ahead touchdown — a 1-yard run by Preston Blain for a 26-21 edge with 58 seconds remaining — with the game-winning score on a 31-yard pass to Oran Nash-Bergen from Matt Plasterer with 13 seconds to go for a 27-26 victory.
Senior moved 65 yards in five plays.
The final drive took 27 seconds.
“All week we focused on the positives (from that game),” Glacier coach Grady Bennett said.
“We’re going on from there, build on them and focus on that side of it.
“We found out a lot about ourselves,” he continued.
“We have a lot of things going for us. We can be very successful.”
Flathead also has plenty to build on for the second week of the prep season. The Braves kicked things off last Friday at Butte with an impressive 42-21 romp over the Bulldogs.
“I think we knew we had a chance to be pretty good,” Flathead coach Kyle Samson said.
“Our O line controlled the game in the trenches. Our coaches did a great job of making adjustments early in the game, had our kids prepared for Butte.”
Tonight, Flathead is home versus Helena Capital while Glacier stays on the road for a key test at Great Falls C.M. Russell.
Jayden MacNeil, for his first varsity start at quarterback, had a veteran like effort with 125 yards rushing and 143 passing.
Running back Blake Counts had 247 yards rushing and 56 receiving. He had screen pass receptions for 12 and 44 yards that went for touchdowns.
“We did a good job of staying composed,” Samson said after giving up a touchdown to Butte on the first play of the game. “We executed the game plan, made big plays offensively and defensively.”
Chance Sheldon Allen returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and Tanner Russell recovered a Butte fumble on a kickoff at the 15-yard line, that set up another score.
“I’m very proud of our kids,” Samson said, “They did a really nice job.”
Regarding tonight’s game with Capital …
“I don’t think that’s a representation of their team,” Samson said of the Bruins’ 32-0 loss last week to Great Falls High. “Great Falls did a great job in that game. Capital will be ready (this week). Their coaches do a great job.”
All was not lost last week.
“The fun thing is we realize we can be a really good team,” Bennett said.
“I wasn’t surprise (by the effort). One of the things I enjoy about coaching is finding out the first game how they will react under Friday night lights. How new guys will react in their first varsity game. It was fun to see the way they played, the potential they have. I just feel bad they let one slip away, one they should have won.
Russell, like Glacier, is coming off a tough loss. The Rustlers fell at Helena High last week 16-6.
Glacier, which started last season 0-4, knows this game is crucial in turning things around.
“Especially with our schedule,” Bennett said.
“Same as last year. The first half (five games) is very tough.
“We saw what it did to us last year starting so far behind the 8-ball. We’ll be ready for a really physical team. The deciding factor in the CMR game the last two years was they are very physical. They brought it. We have to be ready for it this year.”
Game Of The Week
At Columbia Falls ( 0-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
It’s a rematch of last year’s Class A state championship game, won by Columbia Falls 26-14 at Satterthwaite Field to finish 9-1.
The two teams also played during the regular season in Hamilton with Columbia Falls winning that one 23-20.
“It’s a preseason game, we don’t over hype it,” Columbia Falls coach Jaxon Schweikert said.
“We focus on ourselves.”
Hamilton opened the season last Friday by pulling away in the second half for a 36-10 win over Whitefish.
This is the season opener for Columbia Falls.
“We like to play quality opponents like Hamilton, Dillon,” Schweikert said
“They give you a lot of answers right off ... what you are doing well, not doing well so you can fix those things by the time of conference play.”
Hamilton will have the advantage of having played a game.
“The most improvement, biggest jump (for a team) is from Game 1 to Game 2,” Schweikert said.
“There is nothing like playing a game.
“I think both teams are similar to last year,” he continued.
“We lost a lot of quality players, they lost a lot of quality players.
“When you play Columbia Falls, you know what we’ll do. We play a 3-4 defense year-in and year-out. A spread offense, no huddle and play a lot of players, run a lot of kids out there.
“We’ll play nine receivers, four running backs, keep kids fresh. We believe in our kids. Whether it’s a first-team kid or the second-team kid we send them out there, they always rise to the occasion.”
No only is tonight’s test a rematch of last year’s contest, but Columbia hosts Dillon next Friday in a rematch of the 2016 title game won by Dillon 34-17 at Satterthwaite Field.
“Win, lose or draw, these games will make us better, get us to where we need to be quicker,” Schweikert said.
Billings Senior 1 0
Billings West 1 0
Bozeman 1 0
Flathead 1 0
Great Falls High 1 0
Helena High 1 0
Missoula Sentinel 1 0
Billings Skyview 0 1
Butte 0 1
Glacier 0 1
Great Falls C.M. Russell 0 1
Helena Capital 0 1
Missoula Big Sky 0 1
Missoula Hellgate 0 1
7 p.m. — Helena Capital at Flathead
7 p.m. — Glacier at Great Falls C.M. Russell
7 p.m. — Billings West at Bozeman
7 p.m. — Great Falls High at Billings Skyview
7 p.m. — Billings Senior at Helena High
7 p.m. — Missoula Hellgate at Butte
7:30 p.m. — Missoula Big Sky at Missoula Sentinel
Billings West 48, Missoula Big Sky 13
Billings Senior 27, Glacier 26
Bozeman 49, Missoula Hellgate 6
Flathead 42, Butte 21
Great Falls High 32, Helena Capital 0
Helena High 16, Great Falls C.M. Russell 6
Missoula Sentinel 53, Billings Skyview 7
Flathead 7 21 7 7 — 42
Butte 7 7 0 7 — 21
B — Quinn Sullivan 81 pass from Kash Kelly (Trevyn Roth kick)
F — Jaden MacNeil 33 run (Eric Gardner kick)
F — Blake Counts 12 pass from MacNeil (Gardner kick)
B — Sullivan 13 pass from Tommy Mellott (Roth kick)
F — Chance Sheldon Allen 85 kick return (Gardner kick)
F — Counts 43 pass from MacNeil (Gardner kick)
B — Mellott 3 run (Roth kick)
F — Drew Harrison 3 pass from MacNeil (Gardner kick)
Glacier 0 7 13 6 — 26
Billings Senior 7 7 7 6 — 27
BS — Matt Plasterer 50 run (Austin Conway kick)
BS — Junior Bergen 8 pass from Matt Plasterer (Austin Conway kick)
G — Travis Proulx 38 pass from Evan Todd (Carter Purdy kick)
G — Danny Anderson 6 pass from Evan Todd (Carter Purdy kick)
G — Colin Bowden 20 pass from Drew Deck (kick failed)
BS — Junior Bergen 22 run (Austin Conway kick)
G — Preston Blain 1 run (run failed)
BS — Oran Nash-Bergen 31 pass from Matt Plasterer (run failed)
High School Football Rankings
After First Week of Season
1. Billings Senior (1-0)
2. Bozeman (1-0)
3. Missoula Sentinel (1-0)
4. Billings West (1-0)
5. Flathead (1-0)
1. Columbia Falls (0-0)
2. Hamilton (1-0)
3. Billings Central (1-0)
4. Laurel (1-0)
5. Belgrade (1-0)
1. Eureka (1-0)
2. Colstrip (2-0)
3. Missoula Loyola (1-0)
4. Townsend (1-0)
5. Fairfield (0-0)
6. Columbus (1-0)
7. Three Forks (1-0)
8. Bigfork (1-0)
9. Roundup (0-0)
10. Shepherd (1-0)
Class C 8-Man
1. Drummond-Philipsburg (1-0)
2. Shelby (1-0)
3. Charlo (1-0)
4. Fairview (1-0)
5. Joliet (1-0)
6. Great Falls Central (1-0)
7. Choteau (1-0)
8. Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap (1-0)
9. Scobey (1-0)
10. Centerville (1-0)
Class C 6-Man
1. Westby-Grenora (1-0)
2. Wibaux (1-0)
3. Bridger (1-0)
4. Big Sandy (1-0)
5. Richey-Lambert (1-0)
6. Hot Springs (1-0)
7. Grass Range-Winnett (2-0)
8. Noxon (1-0)
9. White Sulphur Springs (1-0)
10. Geraldine-Highwood (0-1)