MISSOULA – Helena High continues to prove it could be the top team in Class AA this year, and on Thursday night, the Bengals’ run added another loss to Missoula Hellgate’s long losing streak.
Helena steadily pulled away from the Knights on its way to a 56-14 victory. The Bengals improve to 3-0. Hellgate falls to 0-3, and the Knights losing streak that dates back five years extends to 45 games.
The game started 30 minutes late because of a brief thunderstorm in Missoula. While it didn’t rain much during the contest, the weather still made an impact. Helena slipped on the first offensive snap of the game in its own end zone. The resulting safety gave Hellgate a 2-0 lead in the blink of an eye.
Helena shook off the shaky start, and Ty McGurran found Hayden Ferguson for the first touchdown to put the Bengals up 7-2. Hellgate responded when Rollie Worster found Fisher Richardson open over the middle for a 32-yard touchdown. The Knights held an 8-7 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter.
But less than two minutes later, Grady Koenig fought his way in for a tough touchdown run, giving Helena the lead for good. Koenig scored again early in the second quarter to make it 21-8. Helena added a back-breaking touchdown in the final minute of the first half when McGurran scrambled, spun out of a tackle, and scored to make it 28-8 at the break.
Helena added four more touchdowns in the second half to make it a comfortable victory.
Helena will travel to Kalispell Glacier for its next game on Sept. 14. Hellgate will take on crosstown rival Big Sky in Missoula on the same night.