KALISPELL — The Glacier Wolfpack are one of the preseason favorites to win the West for Class AA this year, largely thanks to their 17 returning starters. Although they lost their starting quarterback from last season, the Wolfpack are nothing short of confident that their new signal caller can lead them to glory.
"We're excited and we're at the point now where we just want to play a game," said head coach Grady Bennett with a smile. "You know, when you have a senior-laden, really experienced crew like we have, you spend so much time with them in the offseason. Honestly you get to this point you can't get it over quick enough, let's get to Friday night, we're excited."
One of those seniors, Kaleb Shine, holds nothing but sentiment for his final year donning the green and blue.
"Gosh man, it’s so exciting to be built up in this program with all these boys," said a grateful Shine. "We have a lot of seniors this year so it's really exciting."
When it comes to their high expecatations, the linebacker knows it only adds to the team’s appetite.
"You know, it gives us a little like confidence," said Shine. "But we're also eager to just keep sharpening our tools and make sure we're hungry to get that championship, that’s what we want."
After losing in the quarterfinals of last year’s playoffs, Bennett isn’t giving their preseason rank too much value.
"It's a fun goal to try to right? I mean if everybody's gonna give us that, thank you, it's an honor," said Bennett. "But we all know it doesn't matter where you start, it matters where you finish. It's the preseason, so you know who cares?"
The team’s new quarterback, sophomore Jackson Presley, knows he’s a younger player leading an older group, but has complete faith in his new team.
"I think this team compares to none. You know when it comes to every position on the field, everyone's competing, striving to get better every single day and just wants to get better every single day," said the young signal caller. "And we have a brotherhood on this team, and all the coaches and teammates are just absolutely amazing. So it's pretty great and pretty special to be a part of."
Bennett, who’s in his 17th year as the head coach of the Wolfpack, has seen his fair share of talent, and knows Presley has the “it" factor.
"He comes with the skill set and with the knowledge of the game. He's also just a great young man," said Bennett. "He came in immediately, he was very magnetic, the kids were drawn to him. He's an immediate leader. He's just got real special both tangibles and intangibles about him. He's hit the ground running and the whole team is really thankful for him and excited that he's here."
Presley himself is aware of the pressure and expectations that come with the team's preseason rank, but he's taking it in stride.
"You know it feels good, definitely gives us confidence, but at the same time, we haven't done nothing yet," said Presley. "So we have game one, it will be a good way to go out and prove what we can do, and you know, it's just one step towards our goal."
As for his expectations for his first year at the helm for Glacier.
"I'm most excited to have a state championship run," said Presley. "You know, we have the guys to do it, and I think that we can go all the way."
The Wolfpack will kick off their 2023 season Friday when they host the Great Falls High Bison.