Arlee High School coach Chuck Forgey knows his Warriors football team will have to play football with an edge night in and night out in order to have a chance to qualify for the Montana High School 8-man playoffs.
The Warriors, who lost in the first round of the playoffs to the defending Class C 8-man champion Ennis who also won the championship in 2016, will have the defending Class C 8-man champion of 2017, Flint Creek and Charlo, a team that lost in the 2017 quarterfinals and were runners-up in 2016, in their respective conferences.
Forgey was candid about the competitive nature of the conference as his Warriors football team tries to return to the form that allowed them to be runner-ups in the 2015 playoffs.
“There are some pretty good well-coached teams in this conference and if you aren’t ready, you are going to get destroyed,” Forgey said. “We’ve watched a lot of film on Flint. You have to be sound fundamentally and sound scheme-wise. You have to know what is really good in every nook and cranny on what everyone else is trying to do or you’ll fall behind. We are going to work hard to be as competitive as we can and see where the cards fall.”
The Warriors had favorable participation headed into the spring and summer camps. Arlee boasted a total of 24 kids that will be on the roster at their home season opener at 7 p.m. against Troy.
Arlee has solidified its most critical skill position on offense. Unlike last year when it was Lane Schall and former Arlee High School student Will Mesteth battling each other for first-team reps at quarterback, the Warriors go into this season with Schall as their definitive signal caller.
Schall said he is looking forward to competing in what many coaches are referring to as arguably the toughest 8-man conference in the state. For further evidence of this, the top-two teams in the Warriors’ conference Flint Creek and Charlo both competed for a state title the last two years.
Schall, who was the middle linebacker and quarterback in 2017, said he is looking forward to embracing more of a leadership role on this year’s team.
“I am definitely going to take on more of a leadership role as a senior,” Schall said. “Last year, I was a leader at LB and QB because I was the guy that made the calls on both sides of the ball, but wasn’t one of the main leaders because I wasn’t a senior. I am going to take it all in and have a lot of fun. I know that I am making the calls and the guys on my team have my back when I am making the calls.”
Schall addressed the competitive landscape of his team’s conference and said he embraces the level of competition he and his team will face night in and night out.
“I love the competition on our side of the conference and it’s some of the toughest competition in the state,” Schall said. “What motivates us at two-a-days is that everyone is tired and sore, but you have to want it. Two-a-days are a big part of having a winning and productive season.”
As Arlee prepares to face Troy in their first game, they don’t know what to expect facing new coach Lucas Haggerty. They said they will be ready for anything.
“Every week is a challenge for sure and this year they have a new coach,” Schall said. “We don’t know what to expect with a new coach and will have to see what they bring to the table. I am sure (our coach) Chuck has something special for us and we (as a team) are working hard to get ready for the season.