Sep. 15—The Glacier Wolfpack welcomes Helena High to Legends Stadium knowing that a) they didn't plan to start out 0-1 in Western AA play and b) the Bengals have been tough to beat.
In fact you have to go back to 2018 to find the last Glacier win over the Bengals (2-1).
"This is a team that's kind of been our nemesis," Glacier coach Grady Bennett said. "You look at all our AA opponents through the years (Glacier High opened its doors in 2007), and Helena High has by far the best record against us.
"Gosh, we'd sure like to end that streak and get over the hump."
The Bengals' loss came to powerful Bozeman, and they're coming off a 48-13 win over Missoula Hellgate. A trio of Helena players create the post problems for opponents: Senior quarterback Carter Kraft, who has thrown for six touchdowns; junior running back Tevin Wetzel, who averages 7.8 yards a carry and has scored four TDs; and senior receiver Manu Melo.
Except Melo has a running mate in junior Jaxan Lieberg, who has team-highs of 20 catches and 232 receiving yards.
Helena is throwing more than in the past, at least through three games. Kraft has spread his TDs to five different targets, including Wetzel.
Wetzel is also the Bengals' top tackler, along with fellow linebacker Ryan Frisinger.
"Coming into the season, I felt Helena collectively had the best athletes," Bennett said. "Bozeman maybe has a more complete roster, but as far as athletic talent at the skill positions, Helena is just loaded. Their quarterback just gets it done — tough little competitor.
"They kind of just let him run around and make plays and they have great athletes on the perimeter to throw to."
Glacier has a similar arsenal. Sophomore quarterback Jackson Presley has completed almost 70 percent of his passes through three games, five with receivers catching touchdowns. Senior Cohen Kastelitz is the lead receiver, with 16 catches and six scores;
Junior Kobe Dorcheus is the top rusher with 243 yards; Kash Goicoechea is next with 157 on just 17 carries. Goicoechea has a team-high three rushing TDs.
All of this didn't get Glacier (2-1) the win last week in Butte, where the Bulldogs pulled off a stunning fourth-quarter comeback.
"Offensively, it really has to be on us," said Bennett, whose club, up 21-0 in the third quarter, fell 28-27. "The defense gave up a few bombs and those were truly great plays by them. Our offensive execution percentage the first two games was incredible. Not against Butte, for whatever reason.
"We did not execute things that we had been executing and it cost us. We just have to own it, all of our part in it, and get better."