George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
The Montana State University- Northern Lights football program is considered one of the programs on the rise in NAIA. And on Thursday, the NAIA showed the Lights and third-year head coach Mark Samson a little respect. When the first official NAIA poll comes out next month, the Lights will start the season ranked 14th nationally, which is a first in school history. Northern, which finished 5-5 last season, and third in the Frontier Conference standings is expected to vie for a conference championship this season, as well as a first-ever berth in the NAIA playoffs. In 2005, the Lights knocked on the door of the NAIA Top 25 , but were never voted in. This season, it may be hard to get the Lights out of the Top 25. MSU-N opens its season on Sept. 2 at Dickinson State University. Four-time defending NAIA national champion Carroll will start the 2006 season right where it left off in 2005, at No. 1. Montana Tech is ranked 22nd in the first 2006 poll.