The Polson High School football team fell to Browning 34-0 last Friday, and the Pirates will finish their season playing the Montana High School Association Class A defending state champion Columbia Falls this week.
The Pirates, who are out of MHSA Class A playoff contention, hope to finish the season strong after struggling all season with a slew of on-the-field and off-the-field related injuries and adversity.
“It is all about pride at this point, and we are trying to give our seniors one more chance to play at home, and (one last chance) to play football in most cases,” head coach Pat Danley said.
On Senior Night, Polson will try to overhaul arguably one of the best teams in the state of Montana. Columbia Falls, a team that has a roster of 65 kids, is currently 6-1 and will be in the mix to capture their second consecutive Class A crown.
The Wildcats’ only loss to the season, came at the expense of another team in the hunt to capture a Class A title — Hamilton — when they 35-21 in their season-opener at Hamilton.
Both teams at the beginning of the season where at the top of several preseason coaches polls, and favored to win their respective conferences, and contend for a title.
“They are big, and they are physical, and they have a great running back,” Danley said. “Defensively, they fly around to the ball, and we just hope to match their physicality, and that is going to be a tall order (for our team).”
PIRATE POSITIVES included one semi-threatening drive that ground to a halt when intercepted and another in the second quarter inside the 20, but Polson couldn’t connect on a fourth-and-5 screen play that could have led to a first down at the least if not a tally.
Danley stated one of the Pirates’ main issues is developing consistency on both sides of football during a game. During one game, the Polson defense will perform well, or the offense will play well, but both have yet to have a great match simultaneously, according to Danley.
“(Against Browning) our defense played well enough to win for three quarters,” Danley said. “Our offensive input and output have been a problem, and we’ve cut down on the turnovers, a little bit, and put the ball in the end zone. Earlier in the game, we were moving the ball, and it would be nice to put a good defensive and offensive performance together in the same game.”
Danley is just hoping for a good season finale from his team.
“I hope (our team) can be excited, and give our home fans one last chance to shine in front of our home fans,” Danley said. “We will probably gang tackle their RB Colton McPhee. (Colton McPhee) is one heck of a player, and we are going to have to get after them, and have several helmets to the football each time.”
The Pirates have welcomed back last year’s starting quarterback Bo Kelley, who tore an ACL during last basketball season.
“He’s progressed, and he actually helped the first game back and only played a few offensive sequences the last game, when he played safety and got an interception for us,” Danley said. “It was tough throwing the ball late in Browning, and their corners are physical, and they just out-physical our receivers.”
Several seniors hope to make what might be the last game of their career a bright one in front of their home crowd.
“I hope they can be excited, and give our home fans one last chance to shine,” Danley said.
Browning 34, Polson 0
Polson (0-4nwa, 0-8), Browning (1-3nwa, 2-6)
Polson 0 0 0 0 – 0
Browning 8 0 0 26 – 34
B – Brant Bremner 46 punt return (Bremner pass from Ethan Running Crane)
B – Bremner 24 run (CJ Smith pass from RunningCrane)
B – Smith fumble recovery of Trevon Fisher run in end zone (run failed)
B – Bremner 19 pass from RunningCrane (pass failed)
B – Fisher 46 run (pass failed)
RUSH – P36-71 (Hunter Fritsch 18-52, Ethan MacCauley 9-49, Boston Goode 2-(-)26, Kelley 7-(-)4), B (Trevon Fisher 23-189, Brant Bremner 6-63). PASS – P (Bo Kelley 9-29-107-2), B (Ethan RunningCrane 9-21-122). REC – P9-56 (Ryker Wenderoth 6-40, Fritsch 1-9, Parker Toth 1-7, Boston Goode 1-0), B9-122 (Bremner 5-81, CJ Smith 4-41). PUNT – P6-199 (B.Goode). KR – P5-60 (Wenderoth 2-36, Trevor Schultz 1-12, Dugan Davis 1-2, Ethan MacCauley 1-3). PR – P2 (Wenderoth 2-22), B3.
INT – P1 (Kelley), B2. PD – P2 (Wenderoth 2). HURS – P2 (Marquardt, W.Goode). FMBL – P2, B4. FMBRCV – P1 (Schultz), B1 (CJ Smith). CAUS – P2 (Fritsch, Kelley). 4TFL – Garrett Croft 1½, Fritsch 1, Marquardt 1, Kenton Sisler ½. TKL/ASST – P18t39a (Davis 3t8a, Wenderoth 4t2a, Fritsch 3t4a, Croft 2t6a, Toth 1t6a, Kelley 3t, Schultz 1t3a, Kordell Walker 1t1a, W.Goode 3a, Marquardt 2a, Sisler 2a, Trevor Sorrell 1a, Caleb Pierre 1a). (Fr12Oct18)
ACRONYM KEY – PR (punt return), KR (kickoff return), INT (interception), PD (passes defensed), HURS (QB hurries), TFL (tackles for loss), CAUS (caused fumbles), FMBRCV (fumble recovery)
— John Heglie contributed to this story.