GREAT FALLS — Coda Tchida took over the Great Falls High football program last spring after six years as an assistant. With offseason workouts, camps and summer drills, he hit the ground running — only catching his breath recently during a two-week moratorium.
But on Friday morning, he led the Bison on the field for the first time for the first day of fall camp and felt right at home.
"It's good to have a two-week break and be around family. But I was ready to go about three days ago. So I'm excited to be out here. The kids are jacked up. It's been really good for us,” Tchida said. "I really think it's been a good summer, a good offseason around the around the whole team, good energy. A bunch of kids are out. So we're excited.”
Great Falls High returns an experienced squad, with 23 seniors on the roster. That includes all-conference returners like linebacker Rafe Longin, defensive end Wyatt DeVoss, tight end Mason Laplante, center Brendan Lockhart and quarterback Reed Harris. Harris is the state’s top recruit. The Boston College commit will be back under center for the Bison, but won’t be limited to just one role.
"Yeah, I'm going to be playing defensive end and some backup defense. I feel like we're definitely going to be a lot more energetic than we were last year, and we're going to keep most of the things the same,” Harris said. "But there's going to be a couple of different things. And I don't I don't think a lot of teams are going to be ready for it.”
The Bison will open at Helena High in exactly two weeks. But for coach Tchida and the upperclassmen, the work and the build up for this season started a long time ago.
“This is my seventh year, but I've essentially grown up with them and we have just a great relationship and I think that helps out them trusting me, me trusting them,” Tchida said. “We can honestly just kind of bounce stuff off of each other and when it's time to work, it's time to work. But we can still have that goofy conversation, a fun conversation, and they still understand what to expect from me as well as what I expect out of them.”
Tchida takes over the Bison program after veteran coach and his mentor Mark Samson retired during winter.