BOZEMAN — The biggest Class AA matchup in the state will be in Bozeman on Friday when the No. 1 Hawks (6-0) take on No. 3 Helena High (5-1).
Bozeman has had quite the season so far, but after losing starting running back Joe Olson to an injury last week, the Hawks are now facing one of their toughest tests yet.
“It’s never good when you lose an athlete like that,” head coach Levi Wesche said. “I think the team’s responded really well. We’re very lucky to have a backup like McCade O’Reilly ready to go.
“I think this team is really going to rally around Joe and make sure that we achieve some of the goals we already set out for ourselves before this.”
Helena High has been nearly as dominant this season. The Bengals’ only loss on their schedule was to Kalispell Glacier.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge for us,” Wesche said. “They’re a really well-coached team. They’ve really put it to a couple good teams, so we need to come in prepared and be ready for a 48-minute ball game.”
Everything Helena does right, the Hawks hope to do better.
“They have great (defensive back) play, they have great D-line play, they have great linebacker play, so they’re probably the best defense we’ve faced thus far,” Wesche said. “They’re really going to push us, and we have to make sure we’re ready to execute at a high level.”
“I haven’t seen anything they do a whole bunch differently, besides they have a lot of really solid players, nothing spectacular, but everyone’s pretty solid and fundamental,” O’Reilly said.
“We’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing: try to be physical, run the football, and, when we can, start taking advantage of pushing the ball down the field with our receiving corps,” Wesche said.
Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. at Bozeman High School.