MISSOULA — On Thursday night the Helena High Bengals traveled to Missoula to take on the Big Sky Eagles in a Week 4 Western AA football game.
Helena, which suffered its first loss of the season last week at Butte, bounced back with a 23-20 win to improve to 3-1.
Big Sky's Ben Maehl took back the opening kickoff 60-plus yards to the get the Eagles within the 20-yard line. After a bad snap and a couple broken plays the Eagles squandered a great first-quarter opportunity.
On Helena's opening drive, it couldn't have been different. The Bengals used a number of different players to push down the field, and eventually Logan Brown ran it in from around 10 yards out.
The Eagles responded as Draven Lincoln found Maehl in the end zone wide-open at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter the Bengals drove down the field again, but were stopped by the Eagles in the red zone, forcing them to take a field goal and put the Bengals up 10-7.
Then Helena looked like it was going to pull away after another strong drive put the Bengals in the red zone. After a mishandled snap on the 7-yard line, Helena quarterback Kaden Huot hit Hayden Ferguson for a touchdown and a 16-7 lead.
But the Eagles fought back in the second half. On their first drive, Hunter Meinzen handed it to Jett Rebish who hit Maehl for his second TD of the game to make it 16-14 Helena.
Then in the third quarter, Rebish took a handoff and piled in to give the Eagles the 20-16 lead.
Helena followed that by taking the lead back with a 1-yard touchdown run from Brown, making it 23-20.
The Eagles drove down to the 50-yard line with just more than two minutes to play, but Helena intercepted the ball on a controversial call. The Bengals ran the clock down the rest of the way to seal the win.