BUTTE – Kyle Samson’s transition from head coach at Kalispell Flathead High School to offensive coordinator at Montana Tech came on pretty sudden. Shortly after his Braves finished as the runner-up to Billings West in Class AA, Samson moved his family to the Mining City. But with Saturday’s Shrine Game being played at Bob Green Field, coach Samson got some much needed catch-up time with a few of his former players.
“It was pretty cool that we got five guys who represented our team from last year at Flathead,” said Samson. “It was a lot of fun to just see them again, for our little kids to see them again, it was just a great reunion for us … Kind of just talked, relaxed and had a good time.”
“It was very fun getting all the guys together, all our seniors and hang out with coach and his family,” said Blake Counts. “They welcomed us in, we had some ice cream and just enjoyed the night.”
Saturday night will offer Oredigger fans a first look at Counts, who is coming off one of the most impressive football seasons in Montana history. His pure, raw talent and unwavering work ethic is something Samson knows will stick out come Saturday night.
“He’s earned it. I mean, he’s put in the work. He’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever been around,” Samson added. “I think he’s really excited to go out and compete on Saturday night, you know, I think he’s going to have a great game.”
This will be the last time Samson has to sit in the bleachers to watch Counts. Come September, Kyle will be calling plays for Counts, all while he gets to learn from the best running back in the Frontier Conference.
“I had the opportunity to meet Jed (Fike) and he’s an outstanding athlete. He’s very good, and I think I can learn a lot from him,” Counts said.
“More importantly he’s a great talent, but he’s a great kid,” said Samson. “We know he’s going to come here and do the job on and off the field and I’m really excited to get another opportunity to coach him again.”
But until then Samson will watch the 73rd annual Shrine Game on Saturday with humble pride seeing five of his guys on the field.
“I’m very proud of them. They’ve earned that spot and, you know, it’s cool to see five guys who can come out and represent Flathead,” Samson said. “And having them down here in Butte, for me to get to watch them practice everyday is a lot of fun.”