HELENA — Last week, Helena Capital opened its season with an impressive win on the road against Billings Senior.
Now, the Bruins are set for some home-cooking with the first of three consecutive home games Friday coming tonight.
The Bruins will host Great Falls High and while the Bison and Capital aren’t natural rivals, the game will have a little more intrigue with former head coach Mark Samson leading the Bison into Vigilante Stadium tonight.
Samson was formerly the head coach at Helena Capital and directed the Bruins to three Class AA state championships before leaving to be the head coach at MSU-Northern. Now, he’s back in the high school ranks and making his second trip home to face his former team.
“That’s more of a media thing,” Helena Capital head coach Kyle Mihelish said. “That’s not something we worry about. We all run in the same circles and know each other.”
Mihelish did say that his team was excited to play at home for the first time this season, in part to show off their brand new uniforms.
“The kids are excited about being at home,” he said. “They are excited to show off their new brown jerseys.”
Andew Almos, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 200 pounds, will play quarterback for the Bison tonight and is fresh off throwing for 219 yards and two touchdowns in the Week one loss to Missoula Sentinel.
“We have to do a better job with our tackling this week,” Mihelish said. “We gave up too many big plays and missed too many tackles. So that’s something we need to fix.”
Of course the Bruins will be led by two-way star Parker Johnston, who caught two touchdown passes last week and also returned two interceptions for scores. He’s the top target of quarterback Bridger Grovom but Kadyn Craigle, who rushed for 100 yards last week, is also a key dog on the offense along with receiver Anthony Guccione.
“Offensively we have to be able to move the ball,” Mihelish said. “We have to be able to run, take time off the clock and give some of our guys a rest. We had a lot of defensive plays last week and in the kicking game, we have to continue to do what we did.”
The Bruins will battle Great Falls High Friday night at 7 p.m
Helena High at Belgrade
The first week of the season always brings about some surprises and one of those in Class AA football was when Helena High chose sophomore Kaden Huot as starting quarterback.
The logic made perfect sense because it allows the multi-talented Hayden Ferguson to play all over the field on both sides of the ball, but it was a risky move, albeit one that paid off in a big way for head coach Scott Evans.
“I thought Kaden played really well in the first half,” Evans said. “He was ready to go. Then in the second half, I thought he pressed a little too much and tried to make too many things happen. So we have worked on that and we just want to see him put a full game together.”
Huot threw for 172 yards and a touchdown last week. Logan Brown and Ferguson both had touchdown runs, while Kyler Tesch added a touchdown reception.
This will be the first road test for the Bengals, who will spend the next three weeks on the road. This first game comes against division rival Belgrade, which will offer a different look when it has the ball.
“They do some good stuff with the veer,” Evans said. “No one else in Montana is running the veer option and the last time it was really ran in Class AA was with Skyview. They are going back in time a little bit, but some of us go way back too, so we are alright with that. The quarterback (Dyson Cheney) is a good athlete and does some good stuff. We will have to be on top of our game.”
Cheney is a dual-threat at quarterback for the Panthers who will be playing their home opener after losing last week on the road against Butte. The Bengals beat CMR at Vigilante Stadium and will look to improve to 2-0 against the Panthers Friday night.
Townsend at Eureka
Last Friday, the Townsend Bulldogs notched a key victory over Bigfork, a team that defeated them twice last season, including one in the playoffs and while it won’t help Townsend make it back to the postseason, it was satisfying nonetheless.
“I was really proud of our team to go down there and play some pretty good football,” Townsend head coach Travis Rauh said. “We were focused on that all offseason and I was really happy for our guys that they were able to go out there and get that win.”
This week, the Bulldogs will have another challenging opponent in Eureka. Coach Rauh said the Lions are a tough team that will do a lot of different things on defense.
“They are a good football team and they throw a lot of different things at you,” Rauh said. “You see things you don’t normally see every week.”
Trey Hoveland, a junior quarterback for the Bulldogs will be key in his second career start. He also has two talented wideouts in Aaron Geisser and Gavin Vandenacre. Jadon Lamb, an All-Conference lineman, will also man the trenches on both sides of the ball.
“Jadon is about as good a lineman as there is in the state,” Rauh said.
Kickoff in Eureka between the Lions and Bulldogs is set for 7 p.m. Both teams are 1-0.