GREAT FALLS — The last time the Great Falls High football team won at Vigilante Stadium in Helena was 2008. That streak was broken Friday, August 6 when the Bison came from behind in the second half to defeat the Helena High Bengals 30-27.
For first year head coach Coda Tchida, it was his first game at the helm of the Great Falls High program and what a test it was.
“I knew that we had an opportunity to come back in and win that game,” Tchida said. “I believe in these guys and they all worked super hard and I know what they're capable of.”
One of the plays that turned the tide for the Bison was the first play of the second half, down 20-9, senior Rafe Longin returned the kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. For Longin, getting the win for Tchida in his first game as head coach was a point of pride for the explosive running back and safety.
“Playing for him for four years has been nice and he's a great guy to have as our head coach,” Longin said. “I think personally, he just connects with a lot of us and it was just nice to be able to be part of his team for the first win.”
Arguably the standout player in the state last Friday Longin went to work for the Bison with 142 yards of offense while leading the team in tackles. His work included three touchdowns including the kickoff return to start the second half.
“I think the adrenaline definitely was pushing me to keep going,” Longin recalled. “Tehere's a point where I'd be like ‘I'm out of breath’ but then it's like ‘next play, I just got to go.’
The game served as a tone setter for the season with each week feeding off the momentum of the one previously and for the Bison they’ll need that against Butte (1-0) in their home opener.
“I told them after the game, enjoy this one; enjoy it Friday night; enjoy it Saturday and then Sunday, kind of calm down a little bit. But at the end of the day, we're 1-0 and now we got to focus on Butte,” Tchida explained.
A new era of Bison football is off to a good start as kickoff against the Butte Bulldogs set for 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.