Helena High has long been known for its defensive prowess and with performances like the one the Bengals got from senior corner David Lowry last week, that identity will live on.
Lowry, a senior and three-year starter for the Bengals, was essential in their 14-9 win over Butte High last week thanks to six pass breakups. All of last season, he had five.
“He played a heckuva game,” Helena High head coach Scott Evans said. “It was a complete effort by him. I was kind of surprised they kept throwing at him to be honest. He’s proven himself as a starter for three years, so I was surprised they went at him, but I thought David played a tremendous game.”
Lowry has continued to develop his game over the years and has a scholarship offer from Carroll College. But he’s not satisfied and even after a dominant showing against the Bulldogs last week, he’s still looking to improve.
“I fixed my eyes a lot from last year,” Lowry said. “Last year, I was looking for the ball too early and that would help the receiver have more space and just made it harder for me overall. I was able to see the ball coming in, so I was able to knock it out a few times.”
Lowry playing well isn’t anything new and a big part of his progression has been his confidence, as well as a willingness to fine tune.
“He’s got a lot of turns under his belt,” Evans said. “And to his credit, he’s gotten better and better at his craft. He’s now at a point where he’s getting better every game. It’s impressive to watch.”
Friday night, Lowry and the Bengals defense will be tested again by Missoula Big Sky and explosive dual-threat quarterback Colter Janacaro who ran all over Missoula Hellgate in a 48-21 win in the season opener last week.
On the ground, the 6-foot, 205-pound quarterback ran for an eye-popping 270 yards. He also scored four rushing touchdowns in addition to completing 6 of 14 passes for 77 yards.
“He’s a really talented player,” Lowry said. “I think we just need to trust all of the guys on the defense to job their job and I think we will be fine.”
One thing that would help the Bengals this week, is getting more first-half production from the offense, which went scoreless in the first 30 minutes against Butte last week.
After a rough start, quarterback Kaden Huot found Chase McGurran for a 75-yard touchdown, which was the first of two touchdown drives in the second half. For the game, Helena had over 400 yards, but Evans said he expects things to run more smoothly in Week 2.
“Kaden just tried to force some things in the first half,” Evans said. “I think our whole offense just had to find their rhythm in the second half. It takes a little time but I would expect us to be sharper this week.”
Huot was 15 of 28 for 234 yards and most importantly, he had zero turnovers. On the defensive side of things, Helena notched eight sacks, two of which were from Zach Carson, who was also credited with three hurries.
The Bengals, who feature a number of talented defenders in addition to Lowry, such as Zachary Evans, Marcus Evans, Ben Swanson, Chase McGurran and Forrest Suero, have allowed 20 points or more only three times in their last 12 outings.
Kickoff Friday night is set for 7 p.m. at Vigilante Stadium.
Helena Capital at Missoula Sentinel
While Helena High will be at home for the second straight week, Helena Capital will be on the road again, with a trip to Missoula Sentinel scheduled for Friday night.
The Spartans made the semifinals a year ago and are currently ranked No. 1 in the 406mtsports.com poll. Last week, Sentinel backed up that ranking with a 59-19 win over Kalispell Flathead and Friday, they will look to keep rolling against the Bruins.
Capital, on other hand, is hoping to avoid consecutive losses to open the season. The Bruins led in the third quarter at Kalispell Glacier before giving up 29 consecutive points to go down 43-20.
Starting quarterback Matt Burton will lead the way for the Bruins,who will also be counting on senior receiver Quinn Belcher, as well as a ground game led by Tiegan Cozzie and Carson DesRosier.
The big challenge for the Bruins will be containing a Spartan offense that’s loaded with talent across the board.
The Spartans even have multiple quarterbacks in Dayton Bay and newcomer Camden Sirmon, who threw for 88 yards in his debut and two touchdowns, in addition to running six times for 146 yards and two scores.
Both quarterbacks have a talented group of receivers to target in the passing game too, headlined by Jace Klucewich and TJ Rausch, who are each committed to play at the University of Montana.
The Spartans and Bruins will kick things off at 7 p.m.
In local Class B action Friday night, Townsend will look to win its third straight game after an impressive 31-6 victory over Big Timer in the Bulldogs Southern B opener last week.
Led by quarterback Trey Hoveland, the Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0) will pay a visit to Whitehall Friday. A dynamic passing game and a defense that’s allowed just nine points per game in the last two outings has Townsend on the rise after a season-opening loss to Bigfork.
Jefferson will also be looking to start a winning streak, following a 20-18 upset over Columbus last week. Riley Stock had 23 carries for 133 yards, while quarterback Braden Morris threw for 197 yards and a touchdown and they will lead the way for the Panthers again this week against Big Timber, which is 0-2 on the season.
Both Townsend and Jefferson play at 7 p.m.