The rivalry has begun.
The Flathead Braves defeated the Glacier Wolfpack 49-13 on a chilly Friday night at Legends Field in the teams’ first match-up since Kalispell became a two-school town.
“The community has been waiting for this forever,” said Glacier coach Grady Bennett after the game.
Flathead’s junior standout Brock Osweiler threw for 195 yards and three touchdowns en route to the victory, but it was clear to anyone in attendance that the Wolfpack showed up to play. Glacier’s sophomore quarterback Shay Smithwick-Hann, Osweiler’s backup last year at Flathead, threw for a season-best 257 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. With Smithwick-Hann leading the way, the Wolfpack put together a handful of solid drives throughout the game though they were unable to get into the end zone until the fourth quarter.
It was Flathead’s running game, not its usual air attack, that ultimately overwhelmed the Wolfpack. The Braves ran for 242 yards, by far a season high. Bryce Stacy ran for 135 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown to open up the first quarter.
“It was exciting,” said Flathead coach Russell McCarvel. “I was really proud of our effort.”
Glacier scored both of its touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. Smithwick-Hann threw a touchdown pass to Connor Fuller with 4:26 left and then another to Taylor Graham with just over a minute to go in the fourth. Fuller led both teams in receiving with seven catches for 91 yards.
“That’s what’s impressive about this group,” Bennett said. “We’ve challenged them all year not to look at the scoreboard, which is hard when you’re down 42, 49 to nothing. But they’ve done a great job all year of hanging in there until the end.”
Both coaches said the game carried high emotions, but for the most part the kids were able to channel those emotions. There were, however, a couple personal fouls of the face masking and unsportsmanlike variety. But in the end, players from each team – many who are former teammates – embraced on the field and outside the locker rooms after the game.
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