When Arlee High School coach Chuck Forgey took over as the Warriors’ head coach in 2017, he inherited a good situation.
Forgey, who took over for Todd Yocum who stepped down as head coach to retain a position as Arlee’s defensive coordinator, took over a team that for two years placed second in the Montana High School Association Class C 8-man state football playoffs.
In the last two seasons, under Forgey, Arlee has qualified for the MHSA Class 8-man playoffs, and this year secured the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference behind Flint Creek, the No. 1-ranked team in state.
This marks the first time since 2015, in which the Warriors hosted three consecutive playoff games, they hosted a home playoff game.
“We are happy to host a playoff game, and we made that our first goal of the season to make into the tournament,” Forgey said. “Everyone is excited about it. They are ready to go and work, and take advantage of our opportunity.”
Forgey said this game isn’t only big for he and his coaching staff, but also the community of Arlee, which has celebrated back-to-back MHSA Class C state basketball titles.
“We are really looking forward to hosting a playoff game,” Forgey said. “I’ve had a lot of people talk to me, and quite a few people are very excited. It’s a great opportunity. We are going to hold our own, and get prepared for it.”
The Warriors, who will play a Centerville team that has lost only one game all season, respects the team they drew in the first round of the playoffs.
“The Centerville team has heavy hitters, and it doesn’t get any easier if we win the first round,” Forgey said. “We will play another good team in the first round next week.”
Game time is set for 1 p.m. Saturday in Arlee.
Forgey attributes the Warriors’ success to their team’s balance.
“The last thing that we pride ourselves on is being a balanced team,” Forgey said. “We run the ball pretty efficiently, and that has even started us on a pace for a good first half. Since we’ve been able to pick and choose where we throw, we’ve been happy with the balance. Our offense (the last couple of weeks) has been pretty good at executing in all phases.”
One area the Warriors will have to contend with is Centerville’s size.
“They are a lot bigger than some of the teams that we are facing,” Forgey said. “I think they had a kid over 300 pounds and he moves pretty well. The key is to getting stops on defense, taking that opportunity and punching it in when we get the ball.”
Forgey said the excitement toward hosting a playoff game has been generated by the community of Arlee.
“It’s nice to keep the culture where you want the program and move forward,” the coach said. “I enjoy everyone on this team. Every team I’ve ever coached is different, and I really do enjoy this group. They are fun to be around, they are willing to learn and they keep working and trusting each other. They are ready to do some damage at the next level.”
Arlee (7-2), Clark Fork (6-3)
Arlee 6 20 22 8 – 56
Clark Fork 24 14 14 0 – 52
CF – Isaiah Kolvasky 43 pass from Bryan Mask (Trey Green run)
CF – Green 41 INT Ret (Green run)
A – Chase Gardner 22 pass from Lane Schall (PAT failed )
CF – Kolvasky 6 pass from Mask (Green run)
A – Darshan Bolen 1 run (Lane Johnson pass from Schall)
CF – Green 35 run (pass failed)
A – L.Johnson 56 KO return (PAT failed)
A – L.Johnson 32 pass from Schall (PAT failed)
CF – Jake Calloway 17 pass from Mask (Hewston Coon pass from Mask)
A – Colt Crawford 21 run (C.Crawford run)
CF – Kolvasky 6 pass from Mask (Kolvasky pass from Mask)
A – Schall 1 run (PAT failed)
CF – Kyler Francis 10 pass from Mask (pass failed)
A – C.Crawford 42 run (D.Bolen pass from Schall)
A – C. Crawford 53 run (Gardner pass from Schall)
RUSH – A35-216, CF35-225. PASS – A13-30-188, CF15-32-155. REC – A13-188, CF15-155
Clark Fork = Superior-Alberton coop
Stat specs supplied courtesy of respective coaching staffs Arlee (7-2), Clark Fork (6-3)
— John Heglie contributed to this article.l