HELENA — To kick off this year’s crosstown series, the Helena High and Helena Capital soccer teams took the pitch on Tuesday. The Capital boys earned a 3-2 win in a barn-burner, while the girls battled to a 2-2 draw at Nelson Stadium.
The win improved the Capital boys to 5-1-1, helping them keep pace with Kalispell Glacier at the top of the Western AA standings. Helena High dropped to 3-4-0, as the Bengals sit in the middle of the pack.
On the girls' side, both Helena schools are fighting in the top half of the Western AA standings with Helena sitting at 4-2-1 and Capital at 2-2-3.
According to the players, the coveted crosstown game isn't really about standings or playoff positioning. It's more about hometown pride.
“Just having fun is pretty much the main goal of our team. We connect really well on and off the field, we have great team chemistry and we’re all friends, which helps us to win and tie games,” Capital senior defender Isabelle Linder said. “We were pretty excited heading into the game, we felt like this was our year, we could really get the passes around, and we have a great team this year. So, we felt like we could pull a win through, or even a tie is great, too.”
“We always come in super confident, but I think we came in a little bit too cocky," said Bengals junior centerback Jaydn Koffler. "But it’s OK, we’ll get them next time.”
Crosstown is in its own class of high school sports in Helena. Players, coaches and spectators always circle the date on their calendars as soon as the schedule comes out,
"We’re super excited to play again, and hopefully we can pull out a win next time,” Linder said.
The Bengals' next test will come Thursday when Helena High faces Missoula Hellgate (5-1-0) on the road. The Bruins will also travel to Missoula to play Sentinel (4-1-1) on Thursday afternoon.
Helena's crosstown series continues on the gridiron Friday. The Bengals won in 2018, 2020 and 2021, and the Bruins won in 2019 and 2022.
Helena (2-2 overall, 1-1 Western AA) and Capital (2-2, 1-1) will square off under the lights of Vigilante Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday.