KALISPELL — Tom Carter and Dylan Graham each scored twice and No. 2 Helena Capital reeled off six rushing touchdowns in a 51-14 rout of Kalispell Flathead.
The Bruins, who improved to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in Western AA conference play, rolled up 320 yards in the first half and scored 42 points.
“You always worry about these games after playing two tough ones — you worry about the effort level and how we’re going to look,” Capital head coach Kyle Mihelish said.
“I thought we came out and did what we needed to do. We played at a high level and obviously we were able to score 42 points in the first half.”
A 28-point second quarter that saw Capital score three times in four minutes and four times in a five-and-a-half minute span broke the rout.
Carter found the end zone on the second drive, the second of which was set up by a 50-yard catch and run by Tyler Kovick.
Graham took an option pitch just a few plays later and ran 29 yards for six to put Capital up by five touchdowns.
Hayden Opitz joined his teammates in the halftime locker room after reaching just north of 100 all-purpose yards in the first half. He broke the scoring seal in the first quarter with a 30-yard run before setting up Graham’s first touchdown of the night with an 18-yard catch.
His 48-yard catch set up Graham’s second score late in the first half.
Capital, as it had in the first two games, relied on its defense in the victory.
The Bruins’ quick scoring can’t just be attributed to Capital’s explosive offense, but a terrorizing defense that forced multiple three-outs and Flathead possessions that lasted no more than 90 to 120 seconds at times.
“The first seven guys are veteran guys and they understand the scheme, they understand what we’re trying to do,” Mihelish said. “They execute pretty well and play well together. They communicate.
“That’s one thing with this group that really impresses me — they communicate with each other and get the right calls, the right fronts and the right coverages.”
Talon Marsh broke into the backfield for a couple of TFLs Friday night, and with less than three minutes left in the first half, Kovick jumped a Flathead route and scampered 25 yards into the end zone.
Kovick recorded his second interception of the night a drive later, ending Kalispell’s final drive of the first half with one run.
“Kovick is pretty smart in coverage,” Mihelish said. “He understands where he needs to be, so he just cut the route, picked it and ran [into the end zone]. He had another great game on the track.”
“The kid will go up to catch it — he’s a 4-foot kid — and Kovick goes right up through his hands and comes down with the ball. He had a big night defensively.”
Capital turned to many of its junior varsity players in the second half and saw Lance Baumgart take a handoff and run 60 yards into the end zone.
The Braves, who trailed 48-0 at one point, dodged the fourth-quarter clock with a couple of hits on Brody Thornsberry, but finally caved when Capital extended its lead to 37 points midway through the fourth.
Capital takes on Missoula Big Sky next week, while Flathead (1-2) matches Butte.
“We have achieved what we wanted to achieve so far,” said Mihelish. “We’re just going to take it one day at a time, one game at a time.”