Just after the opening kickoff Friday night, Belgrade’s season opener in Kalispell was delayed nearly 45 minutes due to lightening. When the game resumed, Glacier needed less than two minutes to reach the end zone and then never let off the gas.
The Wolfpack led 21-0 after the first quarter and stretched the lead to 42 at halftime en route to a 52-0 victory. Jake Rendina ran for three touchdowns, while Gage Sliter threw for three scores.
“I was very, very happy with what we did defensively,” Belgrade head coach Eric Kinnaman said. “One thing going into this game, we did not want Jake Rendina to run all over us, and he did not. We played very physical football up front in way, but one thing that got us is their quarterback had a day on us.”
Sliter had touchdown passes of 23, 29, and 7 yards en route to completing 16 of 20 passes for 200 yards. His lone blemish came in the second quarter when a pass was tipped and picked off by the Panthers’ Aidan Kulbeck.
“Their quarterback kind of lit us up a little bit. He had 200 yards on us, three touchdowns, so he played really well,” said Kinnaman. “He showed he’s the real deal and they have a pretty good tight end who had a pretty good day.
“Our secondary got ate up a little bit and there’s a little bit to fix there. But the one thing that we need to do is play assignment football a little bit better. We had a lot of breakdowns defensively and that can’t happen.”
Following Kulbeck’s interception Glacier recovered a fumble inside Panthers 15, and Redina scored his second touchdown on a 9-yard run to make it 35-0.
Redina, a 6-foot, 230-pound tailback, is one of the premier running backs in the state and had a seven touchdown performance in a game against Missoula Hellgate last year. Thus, he was the focal point of the Panthers defense, which limited the senior to 74 yards on 14 attempts.
“I thought we did a great job of holding him off to a great big day,” said Kinnaman. “So I was pleased with that.”
Offensively, Belgrade was limited to just 138 yards, including 21 through the air.
“Their defense shut us down,” Kinnaman said. “Exposed our offense a little bit with some things that we need to fix and be able to account for.”
Austin Spangler started at quarterback and completed 2 of 4 passes for 10 yards, while Diego Casas completed 2 of 6 attempts in the second half for 11 yards.
“We saw some good things from our kids. Austin Spangler started and he did a pretty good job for us. Then we put Diego back there in the second half and he looked pretty good back there too,” said Kinnaman. “The thing that Diego has is he has really good mobility and we do like that from him. Still just need to see a little bit more and hopefully at some point we can get him back there and be able to use Austin kind of where we want all season.”
Casas rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries, while Wyatt Lambeth had 23 yards. Ta’Veus Randle added three receptions for 13 yards.
“I think our O-line did okay. But we got tired. We need to do some more conditioning,” said Kinnaman. “We need to be better conditioned.”
Belgrade returns to action Sept. 3 hosting Missoula Hellgate in another non-conference game.
Glacier 52, Belgrade 0
Belgrade 0 0 0 0 - 0
Glacier 21 21 7 3 - 52
Gla - Jake Rendina 3 run (Patrick Rohrbach kick)
Gla - Jake Turner 23 pass from Gage Sliter (Rohrbach kick)
Gla - Connor Sullivan 39 pass from Luke Bilau (Rohrbach kick)
Gla - Tate Kauffman 29 pass from Sliter (Rohrbach kick)
Gla - Rendina 9 run (Rohrbach kick)
Gla - Bilau 7 pass from Sliter (Rohrbach kick)
Gla - Rendina 2 run (Rohrbach kick)
Gla - Rohrbach 22 FG