EAST HELENA — Despite the obstacles that come from starting a new program, the East Helena Vigilantes are launching into their third full year of varsity high school football with coach Tyler Murray again at the helm.
Murray, a former Montana Western Bulldog, has served as head coach since the school’s opening season at the varsity level.
"We’re just excited to have an opportunity to get out here on the field, compete and do what these kids love to do and us coaches love to do," said Murray. “Our team motto this year, is 'Pay The Price.'"
The idea is one the Vigilantes can draw from all year with the energy and hard work they've spent preparing for the 2023 season, which opens ext weekend.
“You have to pay the price every day and draw from that bank every Friday night,” added Murray.
Although his jump from 8-Man football at St. Ignatius to the Class A coaching ranks has been a challenge, the 29-year-old Murray remains enthusiastic this year as the team have seen an influx of players.
After struggling in the Western A, East Helena is primed and prepared for its move to the Eastern A, and Murray touched on some of those new and upcoming challenges,
"Having attitude and gratitude, that’s one of our core values," he said. "We get to spend time on the bus together, that’s how we should look at it. I know traveling is not the best thing to do, but you have an opportunity to spend time together, get to know each other and have some fun.
But once we get there, it’s business as usual, that’s the message I try to give them."
Layne Powers is one of the team's high-quality senior leader on both sides of the ball. Powers, a center and defensive tackle, said: "The bus rides are always fun. When you get into the longer ones, that can be a little bit iffy, but yeah, pretty fun,."
They Vigilantes open the season at home Aug. 25 against defending Class A state champion Lewistown before hitting the road to play Hardin on Sept. 2.
“Super excited. (Lewistown) coming in, a very good team obviously, defending state champs ... they have a good coaching staff, a lot of good kids coming back, we’re excited,” said Murray.