With five total wins in the last five years, the Hellgate football program has had more than their share of struggles. However 2014 not only offers a clean slate, but it also brings a new head coach. Matt Softich has made several stops on his journey as a football coach. The Anaconda native says his first order of business is to try and change the culture and mentality of this struggling program.
“If we have success of the field, in the classroom and in their personal relationships with their friends, that will translate onto the field," said Softich. "And right now they've all responded. They're great leaders and they're treating the underclassmen, particularly the freshmen, very well. ”
This year's senior class of Knights has not seen any success on the field in high school when it comes to winning games… but that doesn't have to be a bad thing for this year's squad.
“I think that this senior class has faced the most adversity of any I've seen and we've tried so hard,” said senior wide receiver Paul Wilson.
"We have a great group of seniors and we've been through a lot together so we know how to keep each other up," added senior offensive lineman Ryan Hamilton.
"They've been through the fires. They know what it's like to be really low," said Softich. "Any glimpse that they get of the top of the mountain, they really want it bad."
The Knights might not be competing for a state title on the gridiron this fall or anytime extremely soon, but they are anxious to prove that Hellgate football is making a comeback.
“Of course you're always going for the wins but we're just taking it week by week and we'll see what we can do our first week and go from there," said Wilson. "If we get a win, we'll go for one win as our first goal and then our next goal is two wins and we'll see how far we can climb.”
"I think we're going to get a lot done this year. I don't know for sure but I guarantee we'll be a lot better than last year," said Hamilton.
"The players would like to win ten games. Personally, heck I'd like to win ten games okay. But you've got to be realistic about it," explained Softich. "What I tell these guys is just get better every day. Don't worry about the win, worry about improving every time you go out there and pretty soon the wins will happen when you're not even looking for them."
The Knights will have a tough opponent to kick off their season as they play host to Helena Capital in Missoula on Friday, August 29.