High School SportsHigh School Football


Kalispell Glacier, Helena Capital lock up Western AA's top two seeds with Thursday wins

Merek Mihelish
Posted at 10:10 PM, Oct 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-20 10:25:02-04

Helena Capital shook up the Western AA football standings Thursday night, clinching the conference's No. 2 seed for the playoffs and allowing Kalispell Glacier to secure the No. 1 seed.

Helena Capital 27, No. 5 Butte 21 (OT)

Helena Capital downs Butte in overtime, Bruins locks up No. 2 playoff seed

BUTTE — Helena Capital took down No. 5 Butte 27-21 in an overtime thriller Thursday at Naranche Stadium to lock up the West's No. 2 seed for the Class AA state football playoffs, which start Oct. 27.

The Bruins took a second-quarter lead on a 27-yard touchdown run by Merek Mihelish. Butte bounced back to take a 14-7 halftime lead behind two Bo Demarais touchdown passes — a 24-yarder to Kyler Stenson and a 1-yarder to Rueso Batterman.

But Capital responded in the third to jump back out in front 21-14. Tuff Adams scored from 40 yards out for the Bruins, and Cole Graham added a 1-yard TD run. Stenson tied the game on a 1-yard run of his own to close out the third quarter.

The game turned into a defensive battle from there. Neither offense was able to put points on the board in the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime tied at 21-21. The Bulldogs, who entered the game with an opportunity to clinch the West's No. 1 seed for the playoffs, got the ball first in the overtime period but failed to score.

Capital got the winning touchdown to kick off a celebration on the field. The Bruins, winners of three consecutive games, finish the regular season with a 6-3 overall record (5-2 Western AA). They'll be the West's No. 2 seed in the playoffs, which earns them a first-round bye.

Butte is also 6-3 (5-2 Western AA) but loses the tiebreaker with Capital. The Bulldogs would also lose the tiebreaker to Helena High (5-3 overall, 4-2 Western AA) if the Bengals defeat Missoula Big Sky on Friday.

No. 3 Kalispell Glacier 27, Missoula Sentinel 17

Glacier tops Sentinel and secures No.1 seed in the West

KALISPELL — Kalispell Glacier rallied from a 17-7 third-quarter deficit to end the regular season with a 27-17 win over Missoula Sentinel at Legends Stadium on Thursday. The win clinched the West's No. 1 seed and a first-round bye for the Class AA state playoffs for the Wolfpack.

Sentinel opened the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run from Brady Whitman in the first quarter, but Glacier quickly responded with a Jackson Presley 21-yard TD to tie the game at 7-7 after the opening stanza. The Spartans scored the game's next 10 points — a 25-yard field goal by Caden Dirnberger in the second quarter and a Danny Sirmon 1-yard touchdown run in the third — to take a 17-7 lead.

Glacier controlled the final quarter and a half, though. Presley completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Cohen Kastelitz and a 39-yarder to Bridger Smith to give the Wolfpack a 20-17 lead going to the fourth. Presley and Kastelitz hooked up for another touchdown in the fourth quarter to secure the win.

Glacier finishes the regular season with an 8-1 overall record and 6-1 mark in the Western AA. Sentinel is 5-4 overall (4-3 Western AA) and has clinched a playoff berth. The Spartans will be the West's fifth seed for the playoffs and will go on the road in the first round.

Elsewhere in Class AA ...

Kalispell Flathead 48, Missoula Hellgate 12

Billings West 49, Belgrade 19