MISSOULA — Picture this.
On any given play throughout the 2019 high school football season, Loyola Sacred Heart's Danielson triplets could be working together offensively for the Rams.
Bridger Danielson, an offensive lineman, could be blocking for his brother Blake, a quarterback, who in turn could throw it to their third brother, Bryce, who would go from there.
Just like that, one play could feature all three triplets with endless possibilities.
The trio says they don't really think about those scenarios that often, but the chance that it could happen at all isn't lost on them either.
"It's pretty special," Bryce said. "Not many people can say my brother blocked for me while my other brother throws for me."
But these three can.
The Danielson triplets are three of Loyola's 14 seniors who return to a Rams squad that was the runner-up last year in Class B. Loyola fell to Fairfield in the state championship game, the second time in three years the Rams were stopped just short of becoming state champions.
This year, they'll once again return as favorites. With the Danielson triplets in tow, this new senior class aims to push Loyola over the top as champions.
“In 30 years of coaching, I’ve never coached triplets,” Loyola coach Todd Hughes said. “You start thinking about it as a starter group and man, you take away almost a third of our football team when they graduate.”
"We're just ready to get after it," Blake added. "We want to prove to the state that even though we lost a bunch of playmakers that we're ready and that we can finally win it."
Loyola runs a dual quarterback system that features Blake and fellow senior Nick Mitzel. Blake is the oldest of the Danielson bunch. He's just two minutes older than Bridger and three minutes ahead of Bryce.
"It's been a pain growing up with them, but we've gotten used to each other as we've gotten older, and it's just awesome to play with them," Blake said with a laugh while the other two listened in. "Yeah, they annoy me all of the time, but I love 'em."
The Danielsons all began to see significant varsity time as juniors. Bryce was a two-way starter last year at receiver and corner while Bridger started at both linebacker and offensive line.
Navigating early level football to the high school varsity team together made things smoother, even through mistakes.
"It was kind of an adjustment because varsity is a lot faster paced than JV," Blake said. "What made it easier is we've known each other. Last year in the semifinal game (against Big Timber), I called the play, and me and Bryce mixed it up together, but we were on the same page and we completed the pass.
"It's just stuff like that where we just have an instant connection, which is nice."
Blake's first varsity touchdown pass was actually to Bryce when Loyola beat Florence last season.
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Blake carries a strong personal goal into this season as well. Last year, he broke his hand before the state championship and was unable to play. Coming up short as a team was tough but even harder on him to just stand on the sideline and watch.
"Trying to get out of this year with no injuries, do as well as I can and help lead my team to a state championship," Blake said. "Those are the goals."
While the three sport different personalities, they share a common goal: winning.
But let's start with the personalities each triplet offers. Imagine they're on a road trip somewhere with their parents. On this hypothetical car ride, who does the most talking and pestering of the others? Who is the most serious? And which of them is the quietest?
Well, the consensus from the three of them is this: Blake is the most serious, Bridger does the most pestering and Bryce is the quiet one.
But outside of that scenario, Blake says he'll be as outspoken as Bridger depending on the situation. But Bridger is described as the most outgoing brother.
"I've always had a positive attitude, no matter what day I'm having," Bridger said. "I always try to think that I'm going to get through it and have a good day. When it's football time, I just love to yell and get rowdy and stuff."
The three agree their competitive spark is how they're the most similar and it shows. When talking to each one, the fire to get back to the state championship game is ever-present. They think about that game, and remember 2016 when the Rams just missed out on another title after Eureka completed a Hail Mary pass to win the game.
Bryce mentioned that all three went through the process of getting over the game together, which has helped them come into this season with a fire to never feel that again.
But when thinking about their competitive levels, even their rock-paper-scissors battles get intense, Blake explained, and they compete for better grades in the classroom as well.
"We like to compete and don't like to lose to one another," Bryce added with a laugh.
"We're brothers so we've always liked to compete against each other and see who can win in every single thing," Bridger said. "Even when we were young, we'd always race to the car to see who was faster. It didn't really matter what it was, we just wanted to win against each other."
Bridger catches some grief from his brothers because he's so much different than Blake and Bryce.
“Bridger wanted to be like his other two brothers that were in those type of skill positions but look at him," Hughes explained. "He’s a monster, he’s huge. And finally, going into last season I sat down and talked with him and I just told him the best spot for his and our future success would be for him to be an offensive lineman and linebacker.”
“They’re very much individuals, but you can see some similarities in them as well."
But when it comes to their senior year goals, all three unify under the objective in bringing Loyola its first state title since 2013.
"We just have to finish," Bryce added. "There were a few games where we started well and just didn't carry it on. But we have a lot of excitement and we're ready for the new season to go and play some ball."
"We're just trying to win that state championship this year," Bridger added. "That's our main goal right now."