Milestone victory for Wolfpack
Posted: Saturday, Aug 30, 2008 - 12:34:51 am MDT The Daily Inter Lake

BUTTE — Last year’s perpetually overmatched Glacier football team couldn’t help but chuckle when head coach Grady Bennett insisted it practice its “Victory” formation. Pups no longer, the Wolfpack experienced a different emotion Friday night when quarterback Shay Smithwick-Hann took a knee to ice Glacier’s first Class AA win, 21-14 over Butte in the season opener for both teams. “I’m just so happy for those kids for hanging in there and keeping at it and just believing they could get it done,” Bennett said. “I really liked the way the kids approached it. I really liked the way they believed they could win.” The Bulldogs drove inside the Wolfpack red zone with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter, but Glacier’s defense, which surrendered 40 first-half points to Butte in last year’s season opener, forced four straight incomplete passes, rendering the Wolfpack’s final snap a joyful formality. Led by Taylor Graham, Connor Fuller, Logan Quay and Kramer Wilson, the Wolfpack secondary came up big late, just as it had all night, allowing Butte quarterback Skyler Criscuolo to complete just 10 of 25 passes for 127 yards. Wilson had a momentum-changing interception, as did linebacker Garrett Conners. Glacier took its first lead on Smithwick-Hann’s 1-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs tied the game at 7 on Mike Euland’s scoring jaunt about 4 minutes later, but the Wolfpack enjoyed a 14-7 halftime advantage thanks to Taylor Hart’s 7-yard touchdown run with 1:39 on the clock. Glacier pulled ahead 21-7 late in the third quarter when Smithwick-Hann hooked up with BJ Corpron on a 12-yard scoring strike. Criscuolo narrowed the gap when he found Keaton Lappin open for a short touchdown in the fourth quarter, but the Wolfpack wouldn’t be denied. “I never once thought, ‘Oh, no, we’re going to self-destruct and let this thing slip away,’” Bennett said. Smithwick-Hann completed 13 of 20 passes for 149 yards, but it was Glacier’s remarkable balance that keyed its offense. The Wolfpack gained 131 yards rushing, including 85 by Hart on 10 carries, after managing just 295 yards on the ground last season. “The step we had to make to start being competitive was to run the football,” Bennett said. “The offensive line got off the ball and moved the line of scrimmage.” Linemen Dan Gilbert, Max Echelard, Kieran Hagen, Matt Russell, John Frandsen and Leroy Doty also allowed the passing game to click. Connor Fuller had three receptions for 26 yards to lead Glacier, followed by Kyle Montini with two for 29 and Corpron with two for 25. “Shay had time all night,” Bennett said. “He always had a pocket to step up into. It didn’t seem like he was ever under duress.” Euland rushed for 164 yards, but needed 39 carries to do so. Though understandably elated, Bennett said the Wolfpack kept their celebration in check until they reached the locker room, where tears flowed freely. Glacier’s victory came at the expense of Arie Grey, who made his debut as Butte head coach after tutoring the Wolfpack receivers last year. Bennett said Grey jogged across the field to congratulate his former players. “The things we stress about character and class: When you see that actually come out during the game, that’s what makes it all worth it,” Bennett said. The Wolfpack shoot for their first winning streak next Friday when they host Bozeman (0-1) at 7 p.m. “What I told them was, ‘Now that you’ve tasted it, you come back Monday and you have the best week of practice that you’ve ever had,’” Bennett said. “I don’t think they’ll rest on any laurels at all. I think it’s going to be a fantastic week of practice.”

Glacier slides past Butte High
Bulldogs fall 21-14 in Arie Grey's debut
By Pat Ryan - 08/30/2008

vs Butte
Bulldog wide receiver Levi Lovshin returns a pass during the first quarter of their game with the Glacier High School Wolf Pak Friday evening in Bulldog Memorial Stadium. Walter Hinick / The Montana Standard

Coming into Bulldog Memorial Stadium, the Glacier Wolfpack were a football team without a win in their short history. That changed Friday night, as the second-year program held on for a 21-14 win over Butte High in the season debut for both teams. First-year Butte High coach Arie Grey shared the pain of Glacier's 0-10 season last year as an assistant under Wolfpack head coach Grady Bennett. "I've told everyone they're a good team," Grey said. "They're well coached and they played a great game." Butte had a chance late in the game to tie it up, as the Bulldogs drove to the Glacier 16 with less than a minute to play, but the Wolfpack defense held firm and took the ball back on downs before celebrating the program's first win in 11 total games. "The part that worried me the most was getting them to believe they can win," Bennett said. "They came out believing tonight and they came through." The Bulldogs are 0-1, but they showed good signs in the loss. Mike Ueland carried the ball 39 times for 164 yards, while junior quarterback Skyler Criscuolo completed 10 passes for 127 yards, though he was picked off twice. Defensive back/punt returner/kickoff returner/receiver Levi Lovshin hauled in seven passes for 105 yards and showed great promise in his return duties Friday. "They competed and they didn't give up," Grey said. "I'm proud of them." Both teams ran hot and cold early on in the game. Glacier came out and gained 13 yards on a quarterback draw, then went four-and-out. Butte took a shot on its first offensive play of the game when Skyler Criscuolo connected on a 41-yard aerial to Lovshin, who might have scored if not for the first of a number of shoestring tackles that kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone. The series came to an end when Criscuolo was intercepted by Kramer Wilson on fourth-and-8, but Butte got the ball back six plays later when Zach Fellows pulled down a pick of a Shay Smithwick-Hann effort. The Butte drive sputtered and the Wolfpack went to work. Glacier put together a 12-play, 79-yard drive for its first score of the season, a short dive by Smithwick-Hann. The drive was keyed by a 23-yard burst up the middle by Taylor Hart on a fourth-and-1 situation. To their credit, the Bulldogs responded quickly. Lovshin scampered out for a big kickoff return, and then Ueland went to work. On eight of nine plays over the 59-yard scoring drive, Ueland was carrying the ball, including the five-yarder up the gut that crossed the goal line. "What a workhorse," Grey said of Ueland. "He's our guy." One of the main keys to Ueland's success out of the backfield Friday was Butte linebacker Jared Buckley, who stepped in on offense as a blocking back. The Wolfpack fired back, stringing together a nine-play drive that ended in paydirt on a 7-yard battering ram carry by Hart with less than two minutes to play in the half. The points were made possible by a 19-yard pass play on third-and-8 from Smithwick-Hann to George Werk. Butte pressed in the final seconds of the half, but Glacier middle linebackedr Garrett Conners snagged a Criscuolo bomb to end the threat. The 'Dogs put together 10 plays to begin the second half, but had to punt after a promising drive. The Wolfpack were put into a hole on the first play of their possession when Butte end Marko Weitzel hunted down Smithwick-Han in the backfield and held on for a seven-yard sack. The Wolfpack punted, but so did the Bulldogs four plays later, and Glacier went up by two touchdowns when Smithwick-Hann connected with B.J. Corpron on a 12-yard scoring strike. In a must-score situation, Butte High looked again to Ueland, who made the most of the work done by his outsized offensive line and Buckley's hammering blocks out of the backfield. The senior running back watched much of last season from the sidelines after a severely sprained ankle, but he made up for lost time Friday. In a scoring drive of 14 plays and 64 yards, Ueland toted the ball 10 times, priming the defense for a pass play from Criscuolo to tight end Keaton Lappin, who carried the ball in for six. The Bulldog defense stood fast with time running out to give the Butte High offense another shot at a touchdown. With less than four minutes to play, Butte took the ball on its own 21 yard line and again rode the strong back of Ueland, peppered with a couple of pass completions to Lovshin. Butte's best shot at the endzone came on third-and-10 when Criscuolo fired a pass at Ueland, but the ball was knocked down by Taylor Graham, and the Wolfpack coasted in from there. The Bulldogs will try to get into the win column next week in Missoula, where they will take on the Sentinel Spartans Friday at 7 p.m.

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