HELENA — Friday night Helena High will be making the trip to Billings Senior for the Class AA state championship, a game these players and coaches have dreamed about for a very long time. Now that it’s almost here, the Bengals’ top priority is keeping their mental game sharp.

“I think the most important thing is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you have to get all your mental stuff done,” said Helena head coach Tony Arntson. “You can’t wait until later in the week, because the emotions of the game and the excitement and adrenaline start to take over on Thursday and a little bit on Friday. I really think it’s the mental preparation. The kids got to get their assignments down, get their film study down, spend a little extra time at that early in the week so that they’re ready to go, because, like I said, Thursday and Friday will take care of themselves. There is no way around it. The excitement is going to be there, the adrenaline, the nerves — that’s all going to be there. I think the most important thing is the team that gets it out of their system during warmups as quick as you can early in the game, that’s the one that’s going to be successful.”

“Everybody’s pretty upbeat, pretty lively, making jokes and stuff,” said senior linebacker Conner Nash. “Of course there is a lot of pressure, but there is a lot of confidence going into this game — that whatever we do, we’re going to do it to our best and we’ll come out how we come out.”