GREAT FALLS — It’s a different year but a similar story line for the Great Falls High football team. At 2-3, the Bison feel they're better than their record shows, and, just like last year, things are coming together nicely in time for crosstown.
The Bison will look to beat rival Great Falls CMR for the third year in a row and the fourth time in five years on Friday. Great Falls enters the game coming off a win over Billings Skyview, which ended a tough stretch where the team saw three sizable losses and its Homecoming game canceled.
"What it really came down to is our intensity," junior linebacker and offensive lineman Zach Newton said of the win over Skyview. "We had some of the best energy I've seen out of this program for a while. And that helped us out a lot. We just realized that we're a lot better team than how we've been playing."
With that renewed energy, there’s plenty of reason for optimism for the Bison this week: no major injuries, the defense looks sharp, and the offense is balanced. Last week, the Bison defense held Skyview to six points. On offense, Reed Harris threw touchdown passes to Levi Torgerson, while Ryan Krahe scored twice on the ground. Head coach Mark Samson is finding things he likes in the losses, too.
"I still believe we have a really good football team. It just took us a little longer to get to where we want to be," he said. "Some of the things we did against Billings West we did really well -- I mean, really well. They're a good football team. You know, we played Bozeman, and we were beating them at half."
"We just need to learn how to put that together for four quarters against everybody," he added.
Great Falls doesn’t need any extra motivation for crosstown, but there is one 2020 oddity the Bison would like to make up for: They’ve played just two games at Memorial Stadium so far this year.
The CMR game will be the third, and if Great Falls High can win, it would secure the Eastern AA’s No. 4 seed and a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
"Oh, that would be really big," Krahe said. "It'd be really good for impact and having a home playoff game. It would be really big to win it."
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday at Memorial Stadium.