By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Its finally arrived. In Havre, it just might be better than the millennium.
The MSU-Northern Lights football team, after nearly three decades, will play its first game Saturday at Blue Pony Stadium as a full member of the Frontier Conference.
Anybody who plays at home should definitely have a hometown advantage, head coach Walt Currie said. The community has been 100 percent behind this.
The Lights, 0-1, will take on the Western Montana Bulldogs, 0-0, in NAIA conference play.
The two teams never met last year, Northerns exhibition year. However, the Bulldogs went 2-7 overall and 2-4 in Frontier Conference play in 1998. Under direction of a new head coach, Duane Rilla, the Bulldogs hope to improve on that mark.
This will be the season and Frontier Conference opener for the Bulldogs, whose first game last weekend was canceled due to a scheduling error by NCAA 1-AA Southern Utah University.
The timing was unfortunate, said Rilla in a news release about the game cancellation, but we now anxiously look forward to opening our season next Saturday afternoon in Havre against MSU-Northern.
The Bulldogs lost only one starter to graduation from the offensive line. The returning starters include first team All-Conference senior guard Jim Rondaeu of Frenchtown, second team All-Conference senior center Shane Puyear of Dillon and junior Eric Wensink from Wendell, Idaho.
Havre native Lance Lanning will also be returning from last season on the offensive line.
Since their game was canceled last weekend, we know only hearsay over the phone as to what they run, Currie said.
Havre opened the season and Frontier Conference play last weekend at Butte where they fell to Montana Tech, 44-0.
Sophomore wide receiver, Andy Smith of Havre, was awarded player of the week in the Frontier Conference with 13 receptions of 208 yards.
Just happened to be, he was the guy available, Currie said. Were confident in anyones ability out there.
Freshman Chris Jackson will get the call at starting quarterback again this weekend.
Were hoping to put two halves together to win this thing, Currie said. Were going to try to do what we do, just a little better.
The gates to Blue Pony Stadium will open at noon with kick-off slated for 1 p.m.
The Havre High School Booster Club will be operating the concession stand.