KALISPELL — The Class AA football state championship is here, and the Glacier Wolfpack are on the road to play Bozeman High School for the title Friday night at Van Winkle Stadium.
"The mentality has just been to just enjoy it, these group of guys are absolutely a blast to be around," said Glacier quarterback Jackson Presley. "And this team is just absolutely amazing when it comes to not only on the field, but just the brotherhood that we’ve built.
"It's just been so much fun. Not only have we been competing and practicing great, but we've just been enjoying ourselves and just having a blast."
After the Wolfpack outscored opponents 81-26 through their quarterfinal and semifinal playoff games, Presley knows exactly where to attribute the credit.
"The whole team, I mean there's not been a single person that has done it all by themselves, it's just really been the entire team," said Presley. "And just it's been so amazing to be a part of and I'm just blessed to be here."
As for what’s led the team to the first state championship appearance since 2016?
"We're out there with each other and we're having fun. We try to have as much fun as we can," said senior lineman T.J. Gannon. "And we just do a lot together and we’ve laughed together, we've cried a few times together man, and we've done a lot together. So it's just really nice because we've got each other — I've got their backs and they've got mine."
The brotherhood fostered by the Wolfpack has put them in the position with a chance to win their second state title in program history and first since 2014. And it's with a team that bolsters 17 returning starters from last season.
"The amount of joy that our whole team plays with, we kinda have a motto that we play with and it's ‘play with elite joy,’ " said senior cornerback Alex Hausmann. "And I think that's just been the funnest part about this season."
The championship game against the Bozeman Hawks will not only be a rematch of the 2013 state championship that Bozeman won 24-14, but also a rematch of last years quarterfinal that the Hawks also won 31-23. Now the Wolfpack enter this one with a chip on their shoulder.
"They took us out of the playoffs last year, so I think that's kind of our edge," said Hausmann. "You know, it's our chance to show our talent this year and we’re ready to go."
With a six-hour bus ride to Bozeman awaiting Glacier and the season on the line, they’re all business.
"It doesn't matter where we're going, doesn't faze us," said Presley. "This is a business trip for us and just another game and we're excited to go play."