HELENA -- Earlier this week, Helena High head football coach Scott Evans predicted that his offense would have a breakout performance.
Friday night at Vigilante Stadium, his premonition came true and quarterback Kaden Huot helped make it so in a 42-20 win for the Bengals over Missoula Hellgate.
The talented sophomore quarterback was off the charts, accounting for five total touchdowns and 373 total yards. He started early with a 71-yard touchdown pass to Raef Miller on the first offensive play of the game for the Bengals and from there, Huot and the offense hit high gear.
“He is just growing as a quarterback every week,” Evans said. “Now he is starting to show off his legs, he is running the ball a little better and that just adds another dimension. I love what he’s doing with the run.”
After a defensive stop, Huot found Miller on another play-action pass and the two connected on a 30-yard touchdown, making it 14-0 just like that.
The Bengals recovered an onside kick on the next possession but failed to score. Yet, early in the second quarter, Huot scampered 40 yards for a touchdown and suddenly, the lead on Hellgate was 21-0.
Huot’s success on the ground wasn’t limited to the first quarter and in the second half, he continued making plays with his legs and finished with 134 yards on the ground. He was also 12-of-18 passing for 239 yards and four touchdowns.
In addition to that, Huot didn’t have an interception or a fumble.
“We were on a roll with our passing,” Huot said. “It was great. Raef was wide open on that first play and that just got the whole sideline going.”
Rollie Worster, the Missoula Hellgate quarterback, also had a stellar night. He connected with Ian Finch on a touchdown late in the first half to trim the lead to 21-7. But a few plays later, Huot found Logan Brown, who went 43 yards for a score, making it 28-7 at the half.
"It feels great to win on homecoming," Brown said. "The dance is tomorrow and getting a win on Friday night might help get you get a date."
Worster threw another touchdown in the third, getting the Knights back within 14. That put Helena High in a familiar position, holding a lead and needing to finish.
And this week, the Bengals did just that.
Brown capped an impressive drive in the fourth quarter with a one-yard touchdown pushing Helena’s lead back to 21. Hellgate got back within two scores on a two-yard run from Jake Sweatland, leaving the outcome still in doubt.
The Knights also got an onside kick and for a moment, it looked like a comeback might be possible.
However, the Bengals intercepted Worster and then drove 80 yards in seven minutes to tack on a final touchdown in a 42-20 win.
“That was huge right there,” Evans said of the final drive. “That’s about setting up discipline and some other things we need to do to put ourselves at the top at the end of the year. That’s a feather in the cap for us.”
Brown joined Huot in having a big night, carrying the ball 17 times for 109 yards. He also had 43 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Miller also pitched in with two receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
Helena High (4-1) will host Kalispell Flathead next Friday. Missoula Hellgate (3-1) will host Glacier.