HELENA – Kalispell Glacier looked every bit like a title contender on Friday night during the Wolfpack’s 35-7 win over Helena High at Vigilante Stadium.
Tadan Gilman threw for more than 350 yards and two touchdowns. Glacier’s quarterback also ran for one more score in the victory.
As Kalispell Glacier gets set to travel to Bozeman on Friday, September 2, here are five takeaways from the Wolfpack and Bengals battle in the season opener.
- Gilman and Drew Turner will be a dominant force this season.
-The Wolfpack quarterback-running back combo had a hand in each of Glacier’s touchdowns Friday and pushed 500 yards of combined offense. Gilman admitted to being nervous after the game, but certainly didn’t show it in his first win under center.
- Glacier’s secondary needs to clean things up.
-Let’s be clear. Glacier’s secondary will clean things up. The Wolfpack cornerbacks were flagged for numerous pass interference penalties, which allowed Helena High to keep drives alive. On the flip side, it was nice to see Glacier’s defenders attempting to make a play on the ball.
- Helena High’s offensive line must create running lanes.
-Ryan Arntson and Keair Adgerson can be electrifying with the ball in their hands, but the Bengal athletes need running room. Too often Friday night Arntson and Adgerson would collect a handoff only to run right into a Glacier defender. Granted, Jaxen Hashley and company will create a lot of havoc in the backfield this season. But Tony Arntson’s offense will rely on better push from the offensive line.
- Kaleb Winterburn should be just fine.
-Friday was his debut as Helena High’s quarterback, a 14-26 performance for nearly 180 yards. Winterburn showed signs of being new to the position – scrambling before going through all of his progressions, although Glacier’s pressure certainly didn’t help. But Winterburn throws a pretty ball and there were two or three plays he nearly connected with receivers for home run plays. Helena’s lack of a run game put the pressure on Winterburn, but with confidence from his coaches and teammates, he will settle into the position.
- Teams shouldn’t try to keep pace with Glacier’s up-tempo offense.
-Grady Bennett’s no-huddle offense moves downfield quickly. Helena High’s defense had little time to line up in their various schemes on Friday before Gilman was snapping the football. Opponents will likely have the most success if they avoid a track meet with the Wolfpack. Helena High struggled to pick up first downs, which didn’t help time management. Future Glacier opponents can’t get into a hurry if the Wolfpack use a short amount of clock to score. Perhaps the best defense against Kalispell Glacier is keeping their offense off the field. Of course, it’s easier said than done. Good luck picking up first downs against Glacier’s front seven.
Kalispell Glacier (1-0) meets Bozeman (1-0) on Friday night at Van Winkle Stadium. The Hawks earned a forfeit victory on Friday due to Missoula Hellgate fielding a junior varsity-only team this season.
Helena High gets a crack at Kalispell’s other team, Flathead, at Legends Stadium.