George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
It's something you won't find almost ever at the University of Montana, and it hasn't happened at Montana State either. But if you're a college football fan and a fan of the Montana State University- Northern Lights, than you should embrace what's about to happen on Friday night. The Lights will take on Montana Tech Friday night at 7 p.m. at Blue Pony Stadium in a rare Frontier Conference night game. The game was moved to Friday night because of Saturday's huge Class A quarterfinal football game between Havre High and Dillon. And while some may think the change is inconvenient, a real college football fan should cherish the chance to watch a college football game under the lights in Havre. The scenario has happened before. Back in 2004, MSU-N played a similar game against Rocky Mountain College to make way for a high school playoff game. But Friday night's game with the Orediggers is a chance to watch a game with NAIA playoff implications, a game between two heated rivals, and above all else, to watch college football in one of its purest forms there is nothing better in my opinion than college football under the lights. I have been to several big games under the lights and the atmosphere is completely unique. In 2003, I took in a game between the University of Washington and the University of Oregon at Husky Stadium in Seattle. This was back when the Huskies were good and the two teams are huge rivals. The game was nationally televised and the excitement was palpable. The noise was thunderous all night and the student section at UW was out of control. There was also a Friday night game at Washington Grizzly Stadium in Missoula in 2006. The Grizzlies took on Umass in a nationally televised ESPN FCS playoff game and portable lights were brought in for the event. Playoff games at UM are unique anyway, but with the Lights on in Missoula, Griz fans really did it up. In 13 years of going to Griz games, I have never heard the stadium so loud or seen a game with so much atmosphere. And that's what fans have a chance to do to Blue Pony Stadium on Friday night. The game between Northern and Tech is a chance for the MSU-N fanbase to show the Frontier Conference that it has truly arrived. Crowds for MSU-N games have been on the rise over the last three years, and Friday night is an opportunity for Northern fans to really make their mark. There is a lot riding on Friday night's game, and with a chance for fans to gear up all day for the event, they should be worked into a frenzy by kickoff. Playing under the lights can be a huge advantage for the home team, especially because it's a scientific fact that crowd noise is amped up after the sun goes down due to the night air. So with a large Northern contingent in the stands, making plenty of noise when the Lights are on defense, fans could make things very tough on the Orediggers. And by the way, the Orediggers are playing their best football of the season and would love nothing more than to come in to Blue Pony Stadium and spoil any chance Northern has at making the playoffs. That alone is reason enough for Havre fans to pack the stands on Friday night regardless of previous engagements or the temperature outside. But if all that weren't reason enough, playoffs or no playoffs, this is the final home game in what has been a highly-successful season for the Lights. And they will be saying goodbye to their seniors, and that in itself is a reason worthy of people getting to the stadium. Friday night's game is football in it's best form. A night game, a game with high drama, and the last chance to see the Lights at home this season. Now all that's needed is a large, noisy crowd, which won't stop screaming until the final horn blows. I know the MSU-N student section will be rocking because they have all season long, and a night game should only make them louder. But this a chance for everybody to show what football in Havre is all about. I hear people talk all the time about how big football is in Havre, and I've seen it from a fan standpoint from time to time. Well football fans, here's your chance to really prove it again. Hopefully, with your support, Friday night at Blue Pony Stadium will be a night people around the Frontier Conference won't soon forget.