Helena High took the No. 3 seed into the Class AA playoffs last fall. The Bengals got hot at the right time and almost knocked off Billings Senior.
For Helena linebacker Alex Johnson, that loss to the reigning state champions in the state title game served as motivation entering the final off-season of high school football career — motivation to become a better leader, motivation to continue adding mass his 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame, motivation to help the Bengals return to the playoffs as a senior.
On Friday, Helena takes the third seed into the first round of the Class AA playoffs again. The Bengals will host No. 6 Kalispell Glacier. A year ago, Helena pounded Billings West 42-7 at home before handling Helena Capital 30-7 in the state semifinals. Billings Senior won its 26th straight game with a 21-16 triumph over Helena in the state title game.
In the second game of this season, Senior’s win streak halted abruptly. After 27 straight victories, Helena destroyed the Broncs 41-14, one of eight wins under first-year head coach Scott Evans.
Johnson’s performance the last two seasons as a versatile all-state performer earned him recruiting attention from Montana State, Montana, Carroll College and Montana Tech. MSU first started contacting the projected safety/outside linebacker during basketball season last winter.
Johnson said “recruiting has been up and down for me, couldn’t really decide what I wanted to do.” But last week, he said, “I had a feeling I knew it was the right decision so I decided to go for it.”
Photos courtesy of Johnson. All Rights Reserved.