This season will mark Tony Arntson's fourth state title game in 24 years as Bengals head football coach and his team is looking to finally bring home his first championship as Helena's headman.
"You know, they're excited already. The main thing is making sure that, early in the week, you take care of your mental process," said Bengals head coach Tony Arntson.
The third-seeded Bengals are 8-3 and will play top-ranked, unbeaten Billings Senior. The defending-champion Broncs beat Helena High 43-19 in Billings the second game of the season.
"Week two was rough for us. We didn't tackle as a team. We didn't play as a team. We were trying to show out our individual skills," said Bengals senior defensive lineman Caden Suero.
Senior defensive lineman Caden Suero says the Bengals defense must contain athletic Bronc senior QB Nolan Askelson.
"Their quarterback is the real leader because to get Gabe Sulser the ball, you need to throw it to him. And he's a helluva runner too so, if we shut him down, I feel like we can shut the team down," said Caden Suero.
"Your big players have got to make big plays at big times. I mean, that's the bottom line in every state championship game that I've been involved in whether it's playing, coaching, or watching," said Bengals head coach Tony Arntson.
Junior tight end Jacob Howell says Helena High's offense must be physical and consistent.
"Blocking their first four, their defensive front, they're pretty good. They're pretty solid so we've got to block them up and working their corners too for the wide receivers … and, when we get deep in the red zone, got to finish out drives," said Jacob Howell.
After home playoff victories against Billings West and Capital, the Bengals are confident as they hit the road for the state championship.
"It feels great because we were supposed to be the team that was, according to sources, the cream-puff team, and showing that we can gut it out and beat teams by a large margin and make it all the way to the state title shows something about us," said Caden Suero.
"I think we're playing very well right now. Senior obviously has played well for 23 straight games. For us to win the game Friday night, you know, we're going to have to be very good in every phase of the game," said Tony Arntson.
Helena High actually beat Billings Senior for their last football state title in Class A in 1932. The 2017 Class AA edition is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Daylis Stadium.