FORT BENTON — The Fort Benton football team has been off to an impressive start to the 2019 season. The Longhorns are 3-0, and they've won all three in commanding fashion. It started with a big win in Week 1 over Ennis, and the latest was a 53-12 dismantling of Centerville, one of the most experienced teams in the state.
"Once we started rolling we couldn’t stop. Started getting touchdown after touchdown, pick-sixes. Started feeling good," said junior Jace Thompson. "Once we got there, it kind of just came with us."
In all three games, Fort Benton has held its opponents to exactly 12 points. Head coach Jory Thompson chalks it up to complete, unified team effort in all areas, but especially from his front line, led by senior nose tackle Stetson LeFurgey.
"It doesn’t matter who scores or who gets a tackle," LeGurgey said. "We’re all going to celebrate with them and make sure to let them know they’re doing their job and we’re doing ours."
It’s quite the turnaround from five years ago when this group of juniors and seniors was in middle school. Low participation meant that Fort Benton wouldn’t have a varsity team that season. Coach Thompson says this current group saw that and vowed to make things different when it was their turn.
"We couldn’t even field a varsity team. And I remember them talking then, 'We’re going to change that.' It’s good," Thompson said. "Yeah, they got a little chip on their shoulder. We lost the first four last year, won the last four. So technically we got seven in a row rolling right now."
This team knows that nothing is guaranteed in the 8-Man North. Still ahead of the Longhorns is a daunting schedule that includes the likes of Great Falls Central and Shelby. But the goal for this team, as it’s been the past two years, is making it back to the postseason, where Fort Benton has been notably absent since 2010.
"It’s been quite the drought. The last two years, we should’ve been there but just fell short," junior William Ullery said. "I think these two classes are really motivated. These juniors and seniors are really motivated to make that push into the playoffs."