FLORENCE — For Pat and Patrick Duchien, it's been a memorable four years.
The elder Duchien has served as the head football coach at Florence-Carlton High School for six years, and over the last four seasons, he gotten the chance to coach his son, Patrick, the team's quarterback.
"I don't think I could be here right now without him," Patrick said. "He really pushed me, pushed me very hard. I mean we fought a lot, butt heads in practice and at home about football, but ultimately he's the one that pushed me to be great and he helped us get these state championships."
That butting of heads? Well, it's to be expected, but in the end, worked out well for both and the program.
"Honestly, (it) was him being able to assert his knowledge a lot more which would cause butting of the heads because I'm the idiot in this situation, truly, and he's a very smart kid," Pat said. "So it got a lot easier to say, 'Hey, what do you like if we do this?'
"At the end of the day I firmly believe he could be the coach of the team if he wanted to, he could be the offensive coordinator."
"I think we're able to see each other's point of views, and be able to come up with a compromise I guess of what we can do to make it work out and get better," Patrick added.
The last two seasons were capped with state championships for Florence, culminating in the program's growth from when Duchien took over.
"One of the first things we told these guys in this program six years ago was if you believe in our 406 and you truly, firmly carry that with you, the wins are going to take care of themselves," Pat said. "At the end of the day, the wins take care of themselves because of the boys buying into this culture."
While 2021 was a run-away perfect season, in 2022, Florence overcame some adversity with a pair of regular season losses before bouncing back and making a run in the postseason, capped with a win over Missoula Loyola in the state championship game. Both titles were the first for Florence in football since 1977.
"I think it gave a lot of us a good drive, especially after my sophomore year, to go out and work hard in the offseason and be able to go into fall, go into the season, be ready to compete and compete against these teams and get the wins to get these trophies," Patrick said.
The memories made will mean more for these two, with Patrick now bound for Montana State to continue his football career.
But in their final game together for Florence, it ended as any coach and player could ever dream.
"It was tough," Pat said — holding back tears — about their time together coming to an end. "I thought I was over most of it. Special. Couldn't be more proud of him, couldn't be more proud of the guys that surrounded him."