Titans seeking to topple Mountain Cats Friday night
GRANITE COUNTY – Friday night’s football game will be more than just a matchup of two teams trying to get a leg up in the 8-man standings. For the Titans of Flint Creek, atonement will be part of the game plan.
When the two teams met in Week 1 of the 2019 season, Flint Creek was riding the crest of a 25-game win streak over the previous two seasons that had garnered them back to back state titles. They had lost a lot to graduation, but still had the core of a strong senior trio that could lead the rest of a younger, less experienced roster.
As it would turn out, Clark Fork was an up-and-coming program with a lot of upper classmen that were far larger than the average Titan. They would eventually play for the state title and finish as a runner up.
The result was a 74-42 loss by Flint Creek that ended its win streak and set it off on a losing note for the first time in years. The Mountain Cats mounted a 52-20 first-half lead before the Titans managed to pull themselves together and pace host Clark Fork the final two periods of the game.
Clark Fork at Flint Creek
7 p.m. at Drummond High School
Despite it being more than a year since that loss, some Titan players are looking forward to playing the Mountain Cats again – this time on their home turf.
Kade Cutler, senior quarterback for Flint Creek, is ready and waiting for the opportunity that will present itself Friday night at Homecoming 2020 in Drummond.
“That’s serving as a ton of motivation,” observed Cutler of last year’s loss. “We will always come motivated to play. When we come across a team that beat us it adds fuel to the fire. This team doesn't like losing and it’s not easily accepted by any of the Titans.”
In that 2019 defeat, Flint creek lost one of its three seniors to a foot injury in the first half. Conley Wagner had a large Clark Fork player roll onto his foot, breaking bones and injuring tendons that kept him out the rest of the football season and well into basketball. His brother Leyton (junior), also a member of last year’s roster, is looking forward to the game as well.
“Yeah, he’s talked to me about them,” said Leyton of his older brother. “He supported us all year after that (injury) and that played a big part in how we viewed other teams.”
Like Cutler, senior Ethan Parke is also looking to get something back from the Mountain Cats as his career winds to a close this year.
“It’s a revenge game, if you look at it like that,” said Parke. “We use it as motivation to work a lot harder.”
When asked what his goal was for the game, Parke responded with, “Hold them scoreless.”
Junior Cordell Langton was playing in his first game in 2019, not having played any organized ball since he was a child, when Flint Creek faced Clark Fork. “This we feel pretty confident in ourselves and as a team,” he said. “Last year after we got a few touchdowns scored on us we knew what to do, but this we prepared a lot better.”
Ever the vigilant head coach, Mike Cutler looks at last year’s game for inspiration of where the team went wrong and how he can apply those lessons to the future.
“The sophomores last year it was their first varsity start. … You’re not going to see that wide-eyed look like we had last year,” observed the fourth-year skipper. “Some people thought that since we were coming off back-to-back state championships that we’d just keep rolling. It doesn’t happen that way all the time. Clark Fork didn’t sneak up on anybody last year; I can assure you of that.
“I think we put in too much offense and defense last year, scheme wise, with a young team and it kind of back fired a little bit. Once we went back to our base stuff, it started to click.”
When asked if there was any motivation to claim a win Friday after last year’s loss, Cutler replied, ““Oh absolutely. This is one of our rival games for sure. Clark Fork is always good and has had a lot of success. Our kids, of course, are going to be ready to go because of last year’s loss.”
When the two teams meet Friday at 7 p.m. in Drummond, both will be trying to capture their third win of the young season. Flint Creek has soundly beaten both Mission (58-8) and Troy (76-0) with their opener against Plains being cancelled. Clark Fork has reached 2-1 with wins over Victor (56-12) and Mission (74-68) and losing to Thompson Falls (42-0). The two squads are in the Top 4 teams in the 8-Man Western Conference with Charlo and Thompson Falls each at 3-0.