By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
For the past few weeks, the picks have been pretty vanilla on Armchair Quarterbacks. I guess it's my fault. Last year, I went out of my way to pick guests who would pick against the normal favorites out of loyalty, stupidity or some other reasons.
Speaking of vanilla, that might be one way to describe this week's guest picker. Reid Stovall is straight vanilla when it comes to his work on the basketball court for the Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team - and we don't just mean by the color of his skin.
Call it yeoman's work, grunt work or blue collar work, that's the way Reid plays. He is far from flashy. You'll sooner see him run out on the court in a cheerleading skirt that see him throw a behind-the-back pass. Reid doesn't play "old school," he plays "really old school" as in short shorts, short hair and canvas shoes.
Lights head coach Shawn Huse and I like to jokingly refer to him as "BFI," which is the name of waste removal company in Missoula, Butte and other cities. Obviously, we don't think that Reid's career aspirations are in waste management, rather, he has what coaches call a "garbage game."
"Garbage game" is not an insult. Actually, it's a style of play that more people should try to incorporate. Basically, a garbage player is there to do the little things: dive on the ball for loose balls, take the charge, guard the opponent's best offensive player and grab rebounds. He cleans up trash.
Another key is collecting "garbage points," which consists of cleaning up offensive rebounds and loose balls and scoring baskets off them.
Reid not only admits that he is a garbage player with a garbage game, he relishes in it.
"It doesn't bother me," he said. "Call me what you want. That's how I play, that's how I've always played. Somebody's got to do it."
It's tough to imagine Reid playing any other way, even in his days playing for Belgrade High School.
"When I was in high school, I was our leading scorer and it was all off of garbage points," he said. "In high school, if you play that way, you are going to get to play and score points."
Reid was more than Belgrade's leading scorer, he was the Central A's leading scorer his senior year at 19 points per game. This past season, he averaged eight points and five rebounds a game for Northern, including a season-high 22 points in a come-from-behind win over Rocky Mountain College.
Reid and the rest of the Lights have already started practicing for the 2004-05 season
"Practice has been going good," he said. "We've got a very smart, disciplined and very mature team this year. I think we're going to be pretty good."
Besides balancing basketball and college life, Reid is also adjusting to married life with his new wife Mishel, who happens to be Northern's head cheerleader.
"She's the happiest woman in Havre," he joked.
When asked if Mishel might be cheering for him just a little more on the court, Reid was a little coy.
"She does give me a wink every once and a while out on the floor," he admitted.
But we didn't choose Reid because of his "garbage game" on the basketball court, or the fact that his wife is the head cheerleader, which is always good for meeting the rest of the cheerleaders.
Nope, we picked Reid for one reason - he would pick Belgrade to beat Havre in the big homecoming football game tonight.
Reid played offensive tackle/defensive end for the Panthers in freshman and sophomore years, but he ended his career to pursue other avenues, and no, it's wasn't basketball.
"It got in the way of hunting season too much," he said. "Plus, I didn't like playing offensive tackle."
Although his football career was short, there is no way he would pick against his hometown team.
True to form, he circled Belgrade on his sheet and wanted to use a highlighter to make his point even more emphatic.
"It's hometown pride," he said. "I'd bet money on Belgrade, if I had any."
Bet? Did he just say bet? You know we're not afraid to bet here at Armchair QBs. So a little wager was proposed. If Havre wins, which they will, Reid will wear a Havre Blue Pony T-shirt, provided by teammate Cory Brothers, every day next week. If Belgrade happens to win, or a hurricane suddenly hits Havre, I will mention it in some way the next three times we run these stories.
This isn't like my Cat-Griz bets, this is a lock.
As for the rest of his picks, Reid wasn't quite as confident.
He actually enlisted the help of Skylights DeLayne Johnston and Jena Heggem for the remaining high school picks.
The duo picked a few upsets, including Missoula Big Sky knocking off No. 1 Billings Senior in Class AA, and Huntley Project to beat No. 1 Baker in Class B.
Not exactly the popular picks, but maybe they know something the rest of us don't
In the rest of his picks, Reid consulted new teammates Jordan Matthews and Marcus Wilson on the college and pro picks, with the exception of the Montana, Montana State and UM-Western picks.
"I don't really follow football," he said. "I'm always outside doing something on the weekend, not watching TV. Those guys have like every Madden NFL game that's ever came out. They follow it more."
For the most part, they gave Reid good advice. The NCAA football games this week are all close to being toss ups, while the only upset he picked in the NFL is Jacksonville beating Indianapolis.
Actually, the Jags have a better chance of beating the Colts, than Belgrade has of beating Havre.
Last week was fairly interesting in the results. Julie Wagner rebounded from a 10-12 finish the week before, to finish 17-4. Julie's proving to be a model of consistency each week. George came in second with a 16-5 record, while Wells and Jim finished 15-6. I was 14-7, while our guest Dusty Heath was a very respectable 13-8. Harvey came in last with an 11-10 record. What do you expect? He picked the Bobcats to upset Colorado State.
As always, we are looking for possible suggestions for guest pickers, who are willing to tolerate some good-natured teasing. We do have a list of possible guests, but we could always use more.
So call us at 265-6795 ext. 19, e-mail us at email@example.com or grab us if you see one of us out on the street.