MISSOULA, Mont. -

Last fall was a historic season for the Kalispell Glacier football program.  The Wolfpack went 11-2 and advanced all the way to the state championship for the very first time in school history.  Both of Glacier's defeats came to Bozeman High (who went undefeated in 2013), none tougher to swallow than a 10-point loss they suffered to the Hawks in Bozeman with the AA state title on the line.

“When you fall short it stings, it hurts, and you want to get back,” said Glacier head coach Grady Bennett.  “So hopefully all the guys have used it just as driving force of motivation all year long.”

“Losing that game kind of gave me a chip on my shoulder,” said senior Logan Jones.  “It made me work really hard all summer and it made me know that hey, I’m not going to let this happen again.  I’m confident that last year we’ll come back a lot stronger from it.” 

The young Wolfpack program definitely has the most momentum in the state over the last five years.  They made the playoffs in 2009 and 2010, reached the semifinals in 2011 and 2012, fought for a state title in 2013, and now the team is ready to take it all in 2014.

“You know as a program you think about where we started seven short years ago, going 0-10 and just taking our lumps,” explained Bennett. “We’ve built it from there getting better and always feeling like we have something to prove.”

“Our expectation is to be the best team in the state, but we always have to work towards it,” said senior and returning starting quarterback Brady McChesney.  “We know that our potential is as high as it can be for this year with all the talent we have with all the returning guys.”

“I like our chances a lot,” added senior Tucker Rauthe.  “We all believe that we can do it. We have the talent, we just need to press through the season and play as we know we can and take it home.”    

Glacier returns a lot of experience to the gridiron this fall, but filling in roles of graduated players like current Montana Grizzly Evan Epperly and current MSU Bobcat Noah James is never an easy task.

“We’ll see,” said Bennett.  “That’s what’s fun about coaching high school is every year seeing which new guys are going to step up into those roles and replace those guys.”

“You know I think we’re going to be just fine,” said Jones.  “We have younger kids stepping up.  Everyone is lifting really hard and they’re getting at it, coming in on days they don’t need to be here to work on the field.  I’m confident in those kids that they’ll replace that role.” 

Glacier will open up their season on the road this Friday, August 29 with a 4:00 afternoon match-up against Billings West.