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New look Knights ready to battle on gridiron

Published On: Jun 19 2014 05:41:08 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

High school football teams are less than two months away from two-a-days, but for the Hellgate Knights that is not soon enough. They have already held voluntary practices in the month of June.

"I tell these guys every day to get at least one percent better and they've been getting that every day," said Head football coach Matt Softich.  "We're improving slowly, fundamentals are getting better, we're starting to gel as a team we don't have any guys on the team that aren't buying into the team concept."

Hellgate football is coming off one of the worst high school seasons imaginable-- the Knights lost all ten of their games last season. A couple of those were last second heart-breakers, but on average the Knights lost by 42 points per contest.

"Well, everyone has that bitter taste from last year going 0-10," said senior linebacker Jonathan Gragg.  "Everyone is pushing even harder this year and we're playing more as a team as a unit to hopefully get a win."

Senior wide receiver Paul Wilson said, "It was just depressing and just really felt defeated that you can work as hard as you want and still finish horribly, but I guess I want us, especially senior year to be able to have one respectable season out of our class and to be able to maybe finish on a high note."

"We had some heartbreaking losses, I mean last seconds really and we need to step it up this year," Ryan Handley, senior offensive lineman, said. "We've got a lot of people in the weight room, we're really changing from last year and hopeful we can win a few games from last year."

The Knights said they are are ready for a new look on the gridiron and that will start with a new head coach. Matt Softich will lead the way with this year after R.L. Boyles resigned immediately following the 2013 season.

"We want to make Missoula football something again. It used to be looked upon and feared upon in Montana a little bit and we want to get to that level,"  said Softich, "and so everything we're doing is trying to get us back up to that level, we've got a ways to go, but we're going to get there."

Handley said, "With Matt it's just keep on going, going, going high intensity, no standing around. We changed everything, defense is different and we just have to fine tune everything so we can get ready for next season."

"It's really great to see the improvement that we've already made and the attitude that we've already started to change more in the squad than anywhere else," said Wilson.

Hellgate will open up the 2014 season at home against Helena Capital.