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Arlee latest test for top-ranked Titans

The Flint Creek Titans have yet to really play a full game. That may change Friday night when they take on the Warriors in Arlee. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

If you follow Class C 8-Man Football at all Montana, then you already know about the Titans. But just in case you’ve been living under a rock or an over-sized cow patty the last few months, here’s a brief refresher:

  • Defending 2017 Class C 8-Man Champions (13-0)

  • 5-0 in 2018

  • Outscored opponents 302-30.

  • Have started a running clock on every opponent before halftime.

As far as personnel, Flint Creek has what many consider being the preeminent deep threat in the passing game, and top-flight kick returner, in junior Jaxon Lee. And when teams try to shut him down, Flint Creek runs the ball with seniors Colby Manley and Kane Hess to name a few. All of this is orchestrated by second-year Head Coach Mike Cutler and his son Kade, who starts at QB as a sophomore. Toss in solid line play by Riley Allen, Wyatt Rigby and Hess along with a variety of other experienced, talented supporting players and the Titans are a hard team to defend.

As Coach Cutler has frequently said – Pick your poison.

But Arlee (4-1) may be as formidable an opponent as the Titans have faced yet. They are just the second in the five-game season with a winning record, with Charlo being the other at 2-0 when they played in Week 3. But at that time, and at full strength, the Vikings had beaten the Warriors 36-16 in Charlo. Since that loss Arlee has beaten Seeley Swan (64-14), Plains (54-24) and Darby (48-12).

Arlee Head Coach Chuck Forgey doesn’t keep game stats during the season and says he rarely talks about games before they’re played. But in a brief interview Thursday morning, Forgey said they’ll be as ready for Flint Creek as they can be.

“We have a new O-Line from last year and they’re learning something every week,” he said. “This will be a great challenge for them (Arlee’s players).” Forgey declined commenting on Flint Creek, and so all we’re left with is a comparison of the two teams statistically. And even that is incomplete.

Thanks to the website, the Flint Creek Courier was able to collect statistical data on Arlee’s last three opponents. In those games the Warriors are 3-0, scoring 165 points and allowing 54. The Titans are 5-0 on the year, having scored 300 points and allowing just 30. That’s an average of one touchdown per game with an failed two-point conversion.

Talking Arlee’s 3-game stats and extrapolating them over a five-game season, it’s clear that the Warrior offense can move the ball. They average 464 total yards of offense per outing, 301 of which come through the air on the arm of senior quarterback Lane Schall. The Titans average just 275 yards a game – 79 in the air and 196 on the ground. But because they have to play more than half a game the entire season (they’ve gotten the mercy rule ‘running clock’ going by the second quarter in all five games this year) you have to double those numbers to compare apples to apples. So the projection is that Flint Creek would average closer to 550 yards per game, with 160 coming on the ground and 292 in the air.

Regardless, it’s clear that Arlee like to go to the air for its yardage, and that will be a marked change for a Flint Creek opponent.

One area that is most interesting is that Arlee has just one give away in their last three games while collecting 10 opponent turnovers. In five games the Titans have four giveaways against eight takeaways.

After last week’s 68-0 drubbing of Plains, Flint Creek Head Coach Mike Cutler knew that Arlee would be no pushover.

“We’ve got to go up and show up,” said Cutler looking ahead. “They’ve got a bunch of good athletes on that team. We’ve got to up there and try and take the wind out of their sails right away.

“That could be the best team we play (so far).”

The Titans look to make six straight wins on the season Friday night as they take on the Warriors at Arlee High School. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

NOTES – Flint Creeks’ game October 5 against Darby at Drummond High School will be telecast live on the SWX network. You can download the SWX App from your phone’s app store. The app is a little confusing, but make sure to scroll down to the Montana Channel for the game. … Weather for Friday’s game in Arlee will be the coolest yet this season. At kickoff the temperature will be 57 degrees with a 7-mph wind out of the east. By game’s end the thermometer should drop to around 50 with a decreasing breeze. … with a win against Arlee, Flint Creek would have 18 straight wins, leaving them just two short of Hysham (2007-08) on the Montana High School Association’s (MHSA) for consecutive wins at 20. The Titans streak goes back to the start of the 2017 season that saw the locals go 13-0. Drummond’s is No. 2 on the list with 45 wins during their trio of state titles from 2003-06.

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