Hellgate vs. Sentinel: Crosstown Football

Sophia Geranios, Reporter

For as long as any Missoula highschool student can remember, Hellgate and Sentinel have had a crosstown rivalry. Sentinel is known as an athletics school, being particularly successful in track and field, football, and doing generally well in other sports like basketball, tennis, and volleyball. Hellgate is known for its academics although a few select Hellgate sports have been known to break the mold, like basketball, which Hellgate is known for excelling at statewide, along with soccer, and even tennis, flying somewhat under the radar. One thing that Sentinel has almost always excelled at is football. Last year, Hellgate’s varsity football team won their first game in 6 years, in a monumental homecoming game against Great Falls’ CMR. This season Hellgate has won 3 games so far, beating teams they lost to in previous years like Flathead, Big Sky, and Skyview. Most of these wins have been home games, bringing about a new level of hope and excitement to the loyal Hellgate football fans and student section. 

Earlier this week on Tuesday the 8th Hellgate boys’ varsity soccer team beat Sentinel in a home game. Every other Hellgate soccer team lost including girls varsity. This came as a bit of a surprise since girls varsity has gone undefeated all season, including the last game they played against the Spartans. The mixed emotions from the boys’ victory and girls’ loss may have helped set the stage for the football game, increasing tensions among students.

Friday the 11th, our Knights took on the Spartans at Missoula MCPS stadium, and unfortunately, lost 6-45. Hellgate’s student section was decked out in neon, meanwhile Sentinel’s section was dressed in pink. Crosstown games are known to have larger turnouts for the student sections, particularly in the case of a Hellgate-Sentinel game. Another thing Hellgate is notorious among other Missoula high schools for is spirit. Last year, in a crosstown basketball game against Sentinel, Hellgate claimed the school spirit trophy, dubbed ‘Gertie’ the goat. To live up to the precedent set for Knights’ pride, anything Hellgate may have lacked on the field, they made up for in spirit.

Hopes going into the game were higher than in previous years, due to the abundance of victories earlier in the season. Football player Brayden Terzo said going into the game he felt positive about the outcome. Terzo further commented on the team’s performance, saying, “We played pretty well, but we didn’t expect it to turn out like it did”. The improvement shown in Hellgate’s football team after winning their first game after a 6 year losing streak has increased students’, fans’, and players’ excitement surrounding the team, and hopes that this anticipation won’t be lost in years to come. If Hellgate football continues this momentum, the Knights might finally have a crosstown success against Sentinel.