GREAT FALLS — The 2023 Great Falls Bison football team is very young but very ready.
After graduating 26 players from the previous squad, the Bison will have plenty of new faces on the gridiron this year, but that’s not stopping them from leaving everything out there on the field as they hope for a playoff run.
“We are going to have a lot of players that we’ve never really seen before step up. That’s kind of the cool thing about high school football. You get juniors and sophomores scratching the get playing time and you get seniors that get a new opportunity,” said junior Mason Kralj.
Within the 26 seniors that graduated was quarterback Ashton Platt. Platt took majority of the snaps for the Bison last season, leaving the role to be filled by someone who won’t have as much experience.
Since the beginning of the summer, the battle for QB1 had been between juniors Riley Collette and Ethan Arensmeyer but coach Coda Tchida picked his guy after seeing the improvements made at the Bozeman camp.
“Riley Collette won the battle there at Bozeman. Riley is ready to go. He’s excited about the opportunity and he’s been taking all the first-team reps this summer,” said Tchida. “We’ve already built in what we’re going to run offensively and he’s ready to roll.”
Graduated all-purpose threat Reed Harris and running back Rafe Longin are also players the Bison must try to replace.
The team is full of energy and hunger to improve on where the team ended last season. Tchida mentioned he is less worried about the playoffs right now and more focused on team chemistry, being on the same page, communicating, and working their hardest day in and day out.
“Every team in the state wants to win a state championship,” said Kralj. “You can make that goal but there’s a difference between saying you want to win a state championship and working everyday to get a state championship.”
The Bison will open their season on the road against one of this years Class AA favorites in the Glacier Wolfpack on Aug. 25.