The Arlee High School football team finished its season with a 56-0 loss to Ennis in the first round of the MHSA state football playoffs.
Despite the loss, Warriors’ coach Chuck Forgey said he felt his team had a terrific football season and made a significant amount of progress as Arlee continues to build towards becoming a staple in the Class C, 8-man football players year after year.
“That was my message to the boys and to the seniors is they finished their high school football careers with a record of 30-9 which is a very successful record by any measure,” Forgey said. “Our players have nothing to hang their heads about and nothing to be ashamed of. They are a really good bunch of kids. We will have a short break and I hope we will be in the weight room doing our agility workouts. Winning next season starts right now and I would like to give them an opportunity to do that.”
Forgey said he was “pleased” with the amount of effort his team has exerted all season.
“They hung in there together, worked really hard and they never quit,” Forgey said. “Even against Ennis in this last game everyone went out there and had fun. It was just really an enjoyable year and awesome to be around these kids the whole year. It was a really good time.”
During the season the Warriors have progressed significantly, Forgey said.
“I think the kids progressed throughout the season and they got better every week,” Forgey said. “They worked hard and got better as the team went along. Against Ennis we had four starters sitting on the bench with injuries. That is pretty hard to be competitive when you have four of your starters on the bench but that is part of the game of football. Top to bottom, this team improved drastically as they became more and more familiar with the scheme, what we were teaching them and the way we want things. We really ran happy as a program.”
Forgey credits Ennis with being one of the class teams of Class C and admits it was even tougher for his team to compete in a game against one of Class C’s elite teams without four of his starters.
Nathaniel Coulson had a high ankle sprain, Chase Gardner was injured, Rylan Crawford and Greg Whitesell were also not available to play against the powerhouse and stacked Titans.
“I am not going to say that we would have to had a chance to defeat Ennis with those kids in there but it would have helped us tremendously to be able to compete against them with those kids,” Forgey said.
Forgey said getting to travel to Ennis really helped him and his team aspire to work towards being a program similar to Ennis, Charlo and other elite teams in Class C, 8-man football.
“They had a really nice program, nice facilities and they are very well-coached with great athletes,” Forgey said. “Playing them in the first round was a tough draw.”
Forgey, who just completed his first-ever season as the Warriors head coach, said he learned a lot from his experience and he is already looking to improve things as they prepare to head into the 2018 campaign.
“Overall. I really enjoyed the game of football and it was good for the kids,” Forgey said. “I really enjoyed teaching them this season. “If there is anything I learned, it is how much I enjoy football and being able to teach the game. Seeing the kids learn and grow mentally and physically is just fun to watch.”
Two seasons ago, the Warriors finished second in the Class C, 8-man football championship game. Arlee continues to make the playoffs narrowly missing the playoffs last season with a young team.
Forgey said he has a list of things that he would like to improve on during the offseason in an effort to continue to change the culture with the aspiration of getting the town to rally around their respective football team to try to build a Clas C, 8-man powerhouse smiliar to Charlo, Ennis, Flint Creek and Fairview.