Ready or not, here it comes.
Zero-week, first game, a non-conference matchup that counts toward overall standing – Scotties head coach Greg Liebelt and his staff were anxious to see what their 2014 team could do. With only 11 days of practice, the Aug. 30 game in Colstrip was an opportunity for the team to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Can this team repeat the performance of the 2013 squad that went deep into the playoffs?
Glasgow took a good first step, beating the Colts, 14-7. Before that, coach Liebelt liked what he saw in the defense at the Red and White scrimmage last week.
With Jason Thibault returning as the quarterback, Dallas Capdeville and Tanner Roness the power runners, and 6-5 Chase Fossum anchoring the receiving end, all seniors, Liebelt is confident that their offense will remain tough.
Less certain is the offensive line. The absence of several big sized players who graduated is felt, as several juniors and seniors on this season's roster did not play last year. Liebelt is excited to see what these new players can do, however.
Notably missing from the lineup is senior tight end Keil Krumwiede, the All-State player, who is recovering from a wrist surgery. Capdeville, Jake Page and junior Zach Miller will fill the gap for the team.
The 6 p.m. game against Colstrip got underway after some hard rain. Uncertain offense and tough defense characterized the first quarter of the game for both sides. Maybe it was the first game jitters, or the slippery condition – both the Colts and Scotties had their share of missed opportunities as handoffs and catches were dropped. The Colts' strong D limited the Scotties to the Colts' 15-yard line.
Colstrip came close to knocking on Scottie territory the first quarter, as passes from quarterback Lane Torgerson to Blake Schye followed by a 12-yard run by Rodney Studiner brought the Colts to the Scotties' 5 yard line. A tackle by Wyatt Mattfeldt ended the threat.
In the second quarter, Thibault launched a pass to Fossum, which was intercepted by Schye. The Scotties answered right back with their own interception, and Glasgow called the first timeout. Successive complete passes to Page and Capdeville brought the Scotties to the 9 yard line, but the Colts tightened their coverage in the end zone and the Scotties came away empty-handed.
The home team scored the first touchdown in the second quarter. Colts running back Tritan Aberle found himself wide open as he rushed to Glasgow's 20 yard line. A pass from Torgerson to Studiner brought the ball to the 5 yard line. Torgerson broke through the Scottie D to score for the Colts with 42 seconds left in the first half.
The Scotties emerged out of half time with focus. As Glasgow's offensive line executed better protection, both the passing and running games began to click. Miller had a nice catch from Thibault, followed by a wide open rush by Tanner Roness, which brought the Scotties again to the Colts' goal territory. After a two-yard gain by sophomore Benji Phillips, the Scotties went into their spread formation. Thibault found Roness on a quick comeback route for a 5-yard diving catch touchdown. Cache Younkin kicked a successful PAT, and the game was tied at 7-7 with about 3:15 left in the third quarter.
The Scotties controlled the rest of the third quarter, as Colstrip's possession was shortened by an interception by Lane Nickels. The Scotties continued with their running game as the offensive line created effective openings in traffic. After two rushes by Roness for 19 yards, a 9-yard gain by Capdeville, and a 16-yard reception by Ethan Etchart, the Scotties finished the third quarter at an advantageous position: third down at the 3 yard line.
As the fourth quarter began, Glasgow wasted no time to finish business. Thibault connected with Fossum, who towered over his defenders in the end zone for the Scotties' second touchdown. With another PAT kick by Younkin, the Scotties were up 14-7.
The Colts appeared to be tired as the momentum shifted towards Glasgow. Tackles by Zach Miller and Ryan Scanlan ended Colstrip's next possession, and an interception by Cody King with 1:50 remaining on the clock sealed the Scotties' victory.
Coach Liebelt was pleased with the way the team improved execution in the second half after trailing in the sloppy first half.
"Both of our lines did well, with lots of room for improvement," Liebelt said.
Coming up next, the Scotties will travel to Glendive on Friday, Sept. 5 to take on the Dawson County Red Devils. This will be the Red Devils' season opener, christening the new spring turf field.
Total offense for Glasgow was 325 yards, balanced between rushing and passing. The Scotties rushed 34 times for 72 yards, and completed 19 out of 32 passes for 253 yards.
Rushing: Hunter Losleben: 1 for 5 yds. Dallas Capdeville: 8 for 22. Tanner Roness: 10 for 32. Jason Thibault: 5 for 4. Benji Phillips: 10 for 9.
Receiving: Chase Fossum: 4 for 49 yds. Tanner Roness: 3 for 55. Dallas Capdeville: 6 for 55. Jake Page: 2 for 45. Ethan Etchart: 1 for 16. Zach Miller: 3 for 33.