MISSOULA — When Missoula Sentinel takes the field for its final regular season game of the year against Kalispell Glacier on Friday night, recent history says the teams might just wear out the scoreboard.
A combined total of 332 points have been scored in the series over the past four seasons, including a 63-62 shootout in 2016 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium that the Wolfpack ended up winning in overtime. Last year’s contest was a 35-28 Spartan win, a game in which Sentinel scored three touchdowns in the final quarter and former quarterback Rylan Ortt scored with a little under a minute and a half left in the game.
“It seems like Sentinel and Glacier get together, it turns into an enjoyable game for the fans,” Spartan head coach Dane Oliver said. “It’s a testament to the players and they’re very well coached. They’re always a tough opponent.”
The 2019 iteration of the series is looking like it should be a pretty good game too. After a 1-3 start to the season, the Wolfpack have rallied to win three of their last four games. Montana Griz football commit Drew Deck has been incredible for Glacier, racking up 42 catches for 722 yards and eight touchdowns through eight games.
Quarterback JT Allen has been efficient through the air, completing 114 of his 189 attempts for 19 touchdowns, but has thrown 10 picks.
Defensively the Wolfpack are tough as well and have a total of 27.5 tackles for loss this season, 13 of which have been sacks. Glacier has also forced 13 turnovers so far this season.
“They’re definitely a multiple defensive and the attitude that they play with is really impressive,” Oliver said. “They’ll bring some pressure that can make some problems.”
Dayton Bay has been extremely efficient for the Spartans so far this season and Jaxon Lee has been as impressive of a player Sentinel has seen in recent memory.
“Keys for us, we’re really playing good team football, defensive and specials teams and we’ve had great field position all season,” Oliver said. “….they all play together it’s been neat to see to the group come together.”
Missoula Hellgate at No. 2 Butte
Sitting at 3-4 on the year and 2-4 in conference play, the Knights will have a chance to get to .500 on the season as they look to upset the undefeated Bulldogs.
Quarterback Rollie Worster has been the engine for Hellgate so far this season and nearly gave the Knights an upset win over Helena Capital last week. Worster completed 16-of-30 passes for 328 yards and ran 13 times for 85 yards, scoring two total touchdowns.
“I think the thing that sets him apart is that he’s doing it on both sides of the ball,” Hellgate head coach Mick Morris said. “The way he plays offense, there’s no doubt the ability to go out and be Superman. It’s just an innate quality he has.”
Running back Jake Sweatland had two touchdowns on the ground for Hellgate, but the Knights rushing attack was limited to just 121 yards.
Hellgate also gave up 440 yards on 52 plays to the Bruins. Butte has one of the most potent offenses in the entire state, racking up 519.1 yards per game.
Bulldog quarterback Tommy Mellott is nearing 3000 total yards on the year and has thrown just two interceptions in 205 passing attempts. He’s accounted for 33 total scores this year.
“Obviously you probably can’t completely slow him down, he’s going to get his yards,” Morris said of the senior Bulldog signal caller. “Hope he makes a mistake, but we’ve got a pretty good guy on our side too.”
Big Sky at Flathead
In a battle of 1-7 teams, the Eagles and Braves will both try to end the regular season with a win.
The loser of this game will play Billings West in the first round of the playoffs on November 1. Tanner Russell has been the main source of offense for the Braves and their counter-powered run game this season.
Big Sky has lost six-straight since a surprise win over Bozeman in the second game of the season.
Missoula Loyola at Deer Lodge
Loyola (4-4) will face off against the Wardens (3-4) in a battle of teams looking for playoff berths.
If the Rams win, they will be the third seed out of the West B and a loss makes things quite a bit more murky. As far as Loyola goes, they are simply focusing on what is directly in front of them.
And that just happens to be Deer Lodge.
“Told the kids the other day stop worrying about anything but focusing on Friday night,” Rams head coach Todd Hughes said. “That’s playing as a team and enjoying what we do, which is playing football.”
Valley Christian at Sheridan
The Eagles (1-7) will look to end the season on a high note with a victory over the 3-5 Panthers.
Both squads are 0-4 in the 6-Man west division. Valley Christian has not won a game since its opener against Reed Point.