MISSOULA — When Kalispell Glacier running back Jake Rendina puts together his Hudl highlight package sometime this weekend following a 54-38 win over Missoula Hellgate, he’ll have plenty of plays to choose from.
On Thursday evening, the junior Wolfpack running back and linebacker scored seven rushing touchdowns in a wild, fun shootout win over the Knights. According to Montana High School Association archives, which have not been updated since March of 2018, the seven touchdown scores are tied for the third-most by an individual during an 11-man game in state history.
Rendina had 275 yards rushing on 34 carries.
“I’ve got to give it all to my line,” Rendina said. “I’ve said it before, we may not be the biggest but we’re the toughest.”
Through four games, Rendina leads Class AA in rushing touchdowns with 15.
Individual rushing touchdown records are not available, but the performance truly was legendary. And those were just the scores, Rendina also had a major highlight in the first half when he smashed 6-foot-3, 230 pound Knight defensive end Micah Gross on a pass block.
“What I loved most about watching Jake Rendina tonight was just that he’s such a load to bring down that you can’t take him square,” Glacier head coach Grady Bennett said. “You’ve got to go down and cut legs.”
He added: “He’s a competitor. One thing about him is that he’s going to play hard every single play, whether he’s getting the ball, blocking or in pass protection.”
But while Rendina’s display of rushing dominance is a big part of what happened on Thursday night, it was hardly the only component. Sophomore Hellgate wideout Leo Filardi had 324 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches.
The 324 yards are a state record, the previous 11-man football record was Whitehall’s Andrew Simon who had 307 yards during a 2015 game against Broadwater.
“That was just fun man,” Hellgate head coach Mick Morris said. “I don’t care who you are or who you play for, just to have that opportunity to be able to do this right now with everything going on, to be able to watch a game like that, it’s just special.”
Hellgate took a 14-7 lead early on after quarterback Dante Maiuri scored on a quarterback sneak and Ian Finch hauled in a four-yard touchdown reception. Hellgate recovered an onside kick between the two scores, both of which happened in the first quarter.
Rendina scored from two-yards out on the next possession and Glacier took the lead for good a few plays later. JT Allen finished off three-straight runs with a short touchdown run, giving the Wolfpack a 20-14 lead.
Rendina added another touchdown in the first half and the Wolfpack went into the halftime locker room with a 26-14 lead. Hellgate had several chances inside the 20-yard line to score another touchdown before halftime, but Mauiri’s passes were errant.
Hellgate got the ball first out of halftime and immediately drove down for a score — a catch from Filardi — to bring the game within 26-22. Rendina scored again on the next Glacier possession, which Hellgate immediately answered with a 26-yard strike from Mauiri to Filardi.
Mauriri finished the night 22-of-53 for 447 yards and four touchdowns. Finch caught nine balls for 107 yards.
Hellgate had the ball with a chance to take the lead after forcing a stop on fourth down, but a touchdown was called back due to a holding call. Hellgate ended up punting on that possession.
Rendina scored his fifth touchdown to make it 40-30, but Filardi scored on an 80-yard strike as Hellgate converted a two-point play once again. The Knights have three successful two-point conversions on the night.
A 54-yard run from Rendina started to put the game out of reach for the Knights and an interception helped seal it for the Wolfpack. Rendina also added a big 44-yard touchdown run to round out the scoring.
“We could have played a couple more quarters,” Rendina said. ‘The Glacier Wolfpack tend to get better in the fourth.”
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