Bluehawks carry on despite adversity; prepare for Bigfork

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Thompson Falls High School football coach Jared Koskela could easily make a case for his team having the toughest schedule in Montana High School Association Class B football.

The Bluehawks opened with Townsend, a 3-1 team that looks to be headed for the playoffs. T-Falls followed by facing two-time defending Class B champion Eureka in week three, and fell to the Lions, 51-6.

After their 33-12 loss to Bonners Ferry (Idaho), a team they fell to 28-26 in overtime in 2017, will now travel to Bigfork, a team that defeated Eureka 37-0 in their previous contest.

“(The teams we play on our schedule) aren’t going to be fun,” Koskela said. “I told (the Bigfork coach) our team will play tough, it doesn’t matter what the score is.”

The Bluehawks have struggled with a variety of injuries in two previous contests — losses to Eureka and Bonners Ferry.

“We had a lot of our JV team in there and our team fought until the end,” Koskela said. “Because we have these injuries I am really getting a lot of our young guys playing experience and our older group never really got a chance to play, and when we have injuries (like we have) our younger players are getting a lot of varsity time.”

Koskela is optimistic his younger group, which he estimates he is playing 40 percent of the Bluehawks’ junior varsity roster, will benefit from the playing time and playing against top-shelf teams in the state of Montana. The Bluehawks’ early-season schedule reads like a playoff bracket, according to Koskela.

“When you are getting this young group in they get to see the level they need to be competing against in order to win,” Koskela said. “They may not be able to match that level this year, but in the upcoming years when they are older they’ll have a lot of playing experience.”

T-Falls will have no relief when they travel to play the Vikings at 7 p.m. Friday at Bigfork High School. The Bluehawks will follow the game against the Vikings by hosting Loyola, another team that is currently 3-1, and usually, state contenders every year in Class B.

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