KALISPELL — Every football coach will tell you their No. 1 mission for their season is to win.
But Kalispell Flathead head coach Alex Cummings is not like all coaches.
Flathead is in the middle of a challenging season, where they are 0-7 in Cummings' first season as head coach. While outsiders judge this season by wins and losses, he views it a little differently.
"I understand it is my responsibility to win, and I take full credit for wins and losses, but I believe its our job as coaches to build good men for this community," Cummings said.
You can feel that sense of community on this Flathead team. Maybe not by looking at the final scoreboard, but by looking at the sideline in the fourth quarter. You see a team that refuses to give up on themselves, or each other.
"We have become a band of brothers, it feels like, I really do love them, I really think they are my brothers," senior defensive lineman Kayden Berkey said.
That bond is more important than ever in an area like Kalispell, which has seen a rise in teenage suicide this past year. So this story is much bigger than sports and it’s why Cummings knows his responsibility is so much bigger than football.
“There is a lot of things going on outside of this realm of football, you know, just in life, especially in this community in the last six months there's been a lot of hard things going on for these kids so again football to me is an outlet. It's a way to come together as a community, you can rally behind us, we can rally around each other,“ Cummings said.
That rally begins at the top. What every Flathead player will tell you is that the energy and perseverance of this team starts with leadership, saying they couldn’t imagine anyone else paving the way for them, on and off the field.
"I love coach Cummings, when I think of him a smile comes to my face. I love him he is a great coach you could see him as a friend or as a dad," senior wide receiver Coby Berkey said.
"You know, I know who they are as young men and I'm very proud of them. I wouldn't trade them for the world," Cummings said. "Win, lose or draw these are my guys and I love them to death. I would do anything for them."