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East Helena QB Braden Howell reflects on program's first varsity win

Posted at 5:30 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 19:30:39-04

HELENA — In East Helena's inaugural varsity season, the Vigilantes went winless. But in week four of their second varsity season, they finally got their first win, 47-13 over Browning.

For senior quarterback Braden Howell, who rounded out the night with a touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown, the postgame locker room experience was much different than what he’s used to.

“The whole mood. It's a whole different experience going from losing a game going back into the locker room. I mean, yeah, we're still, we're still happy about like the little stuff, but it's a big difference. And you go into that locker room after a big win like that,” he said.

On offense, the Vigilante team has been progressing all season. In their first game the team scored zero points, then six in the second game, 13 in the next, and in Week 4 a whopping 47 points. Howell gives much of the praise to his offensive line.

“I would say we have a really good offensive unit starting with our O-line. Phenomenal guys. And then our receiver unit. They can catch, they can run routes they can and then our running backs can run as much as they want behind the O-line. I would say that we have a lot of strengths on the offense,” the quarterback said.

The Vigilantes' defense also showed out against Browning by pitching a shutout in the first three quarters. Howell, who also plays linebacker, said he felt the defense was more confident that night.

“We were told all week to play fast, physical and confident. And that was a big deal. And that game everyone on defense was playing fast, physical and confident. And so that helped in the end,” he said.

East Helena QB Braden Howell reflects on program first-ever varsity win

Every player that was bussed to Browning was able to play that night, making the game extra special for those involved. Typically, when the backups were coming in, it's because the game was "lopsided," according to head coach Tyler Murray. But against Browning the game was lopsided in their favor for the first time, leading 20-0 at the half, and 34-0 by the end of the third.

"It's pretty good to see. It's normally where it's the opposite, where we have our guys subbing in on offense or defense because we're losing, but it completely switched this game. So it was it was really good to see that," Howell said.

Howell is used to being in the class of firsts. He is a part of the first senior class at East Helena High, the first varsity football team, and now their first varsity win.

"It's crazy. I mean, remembering back to the first win, like freshman year was pretty cool. But this is a whole different thing. It's, it's great to experience and be a part of this team," Howell said.

Murray says the win has shown his team that they're capable of greatness.

“They know that they're capable of doing great things, doing it consistently, put it together one game, now let's let's see if we can do it again. And I think they're starting to feel confident that they can, so that's a positive sign,” the head coach said.

The East Helena Vigilantes travel to Whitefish on Friday to attempt to secure their second win.