BILLINGS — Two for two.
That is how Helena Capital has fared in terms of wins when it plays at Wendy's Field at Daylis Stadium this season, as the third-ranked Bruins walked away Friday night with a 24-16 Class AA football win over the No. 4 Billings West Golden Bears, snapping their four-game winning streak.
Bruising Capital running back Seth Schneider had 19 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns. The last time Schneider was at Daylis Stadium, he racked up five touchdowns as Capital topped Billings Skyview. Quarterback Matt McGinley also ran the ball 11 times for 140 yards and a score, which came from 79 yards out.
Both defenses were stout to start the game, with both teams combining for 16 passing yards in the first half. Capital's run game eventually took over, as the Bruins racked up 338 rushing yards to their 15 passing to end the game.
Capital also won the turnover battle, grabbing two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Senior defensive back Joe Hagengruber was in on two of those takeaways.
"I've never had an interception before, so that's a first," Hagengruber said. "We just knew it was going to be a tough game. They're a really good team. They played really hard and we knew they were on a four-game win streak so we had to come out and play our hardest."
Hagengruber's fumble recovery came as West was on Capital's 10-yard line late in the third quarter. The turnover kept Capital ahead 21-10.
"It was still a close game and they were in reach," Hagengruber said. "It kind of gave us back some power."
Capital (6-1) led 14-10 at halftime, and went up 21-10 after McGinley's touchdown run. McGinley said he runs the 100-meter dash during track season, and having open space to run looked familiar.
"I saw a hole and just thought, 'This is just like a 100-meter race in track,'" McGinley said. "Just going to take off and run as fast as I can and see where it takes me."
Trailing 7-0 early, West tied the game up after Si Ryan blocked a Capital punt that Lucas Gibb took back for a touchdown to tie things up. Cody Gagnon hit a 46-yard field goal in the second quarter before Schneider busted loose for a 51-yard touchdown run to give Capital a 14-10 lead. Then, in the fourth quarter, sophomore DeMarcus Carr broke free for a 67-yard touchdown to bring West within 21-16.
"I thought at times our run game was good. Seth's a pounder and we got a good backup and 1-2 punch with (Alec) McVey-Touchette," Capital coach Kyle Mihelish said. "I've known Matt his whole life. I've seen him running around like that forever. Matt adds an extra dimension. He has a lot of confidence back there and he's doing what he's supposed to do."
The Golden Bears (4-3) only earned 231 yards of total offense, 138 of which Carr earned on the ground.
"I think we had a lot of opportunities. Obviously our three turnovers hurt us a lot," West coach Rob Stanton said. "They're a good and physical football team but I thought we did a pretty good job up front. The turnovers have to be fixed right away."