KALISPELL – When you break a rushing record at Kalispell Flathead High School, you’re doing something pretty special.
Blake Counts has sprinted past the best season in Braves history, which means he ran right by a guy he has always looked up to, former Montana Grizzlies great and NFL player Lex Hilliard. Counts has totaled 1,555 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, blowing past Hilliard’s previous mark by nearly 200 yards. And Counts still has two games left in the regular season.
Counts came close to the record during a breakout junior year. Flathead head coach Kyle Samson challenged him to get even better in the offseason, and the hard-working Brave added a few other tricks while remaining a 205-pound battering ram that tacklers wish they could avoid.
“I would say I’m definitely a power back,” said Counts. “I like to stay in between the tackles and break a lot of tackles. I feel like my speed has been the biggest change from last year. I’m able to finish my runs and just out-run people.”
Samson seconded that assessment, adding that Counts has exploded for a handful of long touchdown runs this season.
“One thing about him that he does a great job, he’s got great vision,” added Samson. “He understands his blocking schemes. He understands how to read blocks and really to make linebackers wrong in their reads, but he is very powerful. He breaks a lot of tackles and runs behind his pads.”
Counts gives a ton of credit for his success to his offensive line, who he calls the “biggest in the state.” Teaming up with dual-threat quarterback Jaden McNeil and touchdown-making receiver Anthony Jones, Samson likes his options on offense.
“I feel great,” said Counts. “I’m ready for (Missoula) Hellgate, ready for Helena High and ready for the playoffs.”
Flathead (6-2) now has its eyes on a high seed and at least one home game in the playoffs. The Braves will travel to Washington-Grizzly Stadium to take on Missoula Hellgate Friday night.