Helena and Capital advanced to the Class AA football state playoffs. Both teams are on the road this week as the Bengals travel to Bozeman and Capital visits Billings to take on West.
Bengals coach Tony Arnston won’t roll the dice this weekend. The No. 5 seed comes in at 7-3, a game back of the No. 4 seed Bozeman at 8-2. Arnston feels they are playing their best right now.
“We’re very optimistic going in,” Arnston said. “We have to fine tune some things to make sure we get to that mental process that we did last week so we play the same way.”
Their optimism comes from being healthy compared to the end of last year. After last season’s first round loss to Glacier, Kendall Johnson realized how quick a season can slip away.
“You got to cherish every moment,” linebacker Kendall Johnson said. “This is going to be a big one that we have to capitalize on.”
A win at Bozeman pushes the Bengals into the semifinals for the first time since 2014.
Across town, Capital does not need any extra motivation to play West. The Bruins’ season started with a 14-7 loss in Billings. However, Kyle Mihelish said his team is completely different now.
“We started out with kind of young crew defensively,” Mihelish said. “We do have some younger guys on the offensive front, but you can say we a veteran team.”
Capital never thought they would be a six-seed after an 0-4 start, but Coach Mihelish preached a constant message of staying the course and the players believed.
“I think our attitudes and just believing in the system,” wide receiver Bradley Haller said. “Just grinding. Got to get it done.”
The Bruins look for the sixth straight win Saturday afternoon in Billings.