The numbers don’t lie. The Montana State University-Northern football team houses one of the most explosive offenses in all of NAIA football. And to have a great offense, a team must have a great offensive line. To have a great offensive line, teams also have to have a great center.
And the Lights certainly have both. Northern’s stout offensive line, four of which are seniors who will play their last game this Saturday at
home against Carroll College, is anchored by senior center Jorge Magana. Magana came to Northern from Los Medanos Community College and hails from the small town of Oakley, Calif, which is nestled in the Bay Area of San Francisco and Oakland.
And while Magana (6-2, 275), who’s been playing football for the better part of 14 years, says he still isn’t quite used to the cold weather of Havre, even after being in town for two years, he’s made himself right at home in the middle of the Lights’ offense. Magana earned Frontier All-Conference honors as a junior and is part of a Lights’ offensive line which is one of the best Northern has had in recent years.
And 14 years after first playing the game of football, Magana will try and lead his team to a win over the second-ranked Saints in his last football game ever.
Here’s five questions with the man in the middle of Northern’s big guys up front as he prepares for Senior Day.
HDN: It’s been an up-and down season, and it’s flew by. Can you believe your last game is here already?
Magana: “I can’t believe it. I still remember getting together in January in the gym talking about this season. I stayed here in the summer and put in the work to get better. That all led up to two-a-days and now the last few days of the season are here. It really does fly by, but that’s kind of normal because you’re always busy. You have practice and school and games on the weekends. A season really does just fly by.”
HDN: What makes this offensive line so good?
Magana: “The biggest thing is, we have so many returners from last year. That’s the first step to us being the unit we are. Then we have great chemistry, we all have really good relationships with each other and we have great communication. As a line, we all go to bat for each other every play and we wouldn’t have it any other way. I think those are things you have to have in order to be successful. And we have a great group on this line and we all play for each other.”
HDN: What’s it like to know you guys are the line for one of the best offenses in the country?
Magana: “If you know any of us, we all take so much pride in what we do. Offensive linemen really don’t get the love that the quarterbacks and running backs do, but that’s ok with us. We take pride in knowing (Stephen) Silva can run for over 100 yards or (Derek) Lear throws for a crazy amount of yards. We go out and do what we do to ensure they (rest of the offense) can do what they do and we take a lot of pride in those accomplishments.”
HDN: Center is a unique position. What is it you like about the position?
Magana: “I really didn’t play center until I got to high school and they needed one. I think I stuck with it because I had the ability to get off the ball pretty quickly, and I really liked being able to move the guy across from me, to make him go where I want him to go. I like exploding off the ball. And I think the center has to be a pretty smart guy. You have to understand your offense and the other team’s defense. It’s a big challenge to play center.”
HDN: How exciting is Senior Day going to be knowing you’re going up against Carroll for your last game?
Magana: “It’s exciting and emotional. But what better way to go out than to have a chance to beat the No. 2 team in the country in your last game. To show them (Saints) we’re for real. There’s no better opportunity than the one we have Saturday. It’s an opportunity for us as players and to show our great fans what we can do. It’s going to be exciting.”