Warriors end season with heartbreak
ARLEE – For the first time in the Warriors seniors’ high school football careers, players placed their feet upon their home field and called it “playoff grass.” Fighting the rain, cold and maybe a bit of nerves, the Warriors pushed ahead, battling hard until the end but heartbreakingly fell to Great Falls Central in the high scoring 56-60 bout.
While playing from behind for most of the game, Arlee tied it up in the third quarter and then rallied a lead for the first time in the fourth but not without Great Falls coming up with last minute plays to snuff out Arlee’s flame.
“It was a tough loss but we played right down for the 48 minutes,” Coach Mike Rogers said. “They’re (Great Falls) a tough offense. They marched it right down the field and scored.”
Despite the loss, Arlee’s athletes put up some good numbers with quarterback Riley Rogers tossing an arm numbing 527 yards, completing 25 of 33 pass attempts including seven touchdowns.
On the receiving end of those throws, Tyler Tanner snagged five for score and Patrick Big Sam picked up the other two. Tanner finished up with eight catches for 184 yards while Big Sam added nine receptions for 204 yards.
For Coach Rogers, it was the whole team doing their job that gave the Warriors their success throughout the season.
“Most of my seniors have no JV experience. They had to play at the varsity level for most of their careers and they hung in there for four years and finally made it pay off at the end,” Rogers said. “A team as a whole, we couldn’t have done it without our younger kids and we couldn’t have done it without our older ones. Team wise, I have a great team all the way across. We have unbelievable receivers, we have unbelievable running backs and quarterback but a lot of the praise that I want to give to our team all year long is to our linemen. Those guys stuck it out and blocked hard. Without those guys upfront, we don’t do anything in the backfield as receivers and quarterback. To me what those guys are doing is huge. They gave our older kids a chance to win some games.”
Though the Warrior football season has come to an end, Rogers is looking to the future with a strong core of juniors returning next year.
“Next year looks good,” he said. “Then again you still have to come out and play the games. To me it doesn’t matter how much talent you’ve got if you can’t get them to work together.”
The Warriors end their season with an overall record of 7-2.
“It was a lot of fun. It’s heartbreaking to lose that game but that it’s kind of how it goes,” Rogers said and gives big props to his coaching staff.
“My coaches were awesome this year, they put up with me all year I guess you say,” Rogers said. “That’s a plus when you can have a good coaching staff that works together. We have one common goal and that’s to teach these kids football. And hopefully I’ve taught my older kids something more than just football.”
Arlee 8 14 8 26 - 56
Great Falls 18 12 16 14 - 60