By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The MSU-Northern Lights football team will kick off a three-game road run Saturday at South Dakota Tech in Rapid City, S.D.
Theyre kind of in the same boat we are, (theyve) only won one game so far, said head Lights coach Walt Currie about the South Dakota team. Theyre in a rebuilding stage with a new coach two years ago. It should be a team that we should be able to compete with.
The Lights, who fell to Rocky Mountain College 62-0 last Thursday at Havre, will be looking for their second win of the season.
Well, well just be trying to get a little better at what we do, Currie said. Weve just got to put together two halves and play and start believing in ourselves that we can compete with these people.
Northern, 1-4 overall, downed Minot State (N.D.) 27-21 in overtime play two weeks ago.
In a young program like this, Minot State goes on to beat Dickinson who beat Rocky Mountain College, and so it kind of makes you wonder that maybe weve just got to believe in ourselves. As players, we can believe in ourselves.
Northern appears to have the personnel to compete.
Wide receiver Andy Smith leads the Frontier Conference with 47 receptions for 680 yards. Rocky shut him down last week, causing the first game of the season where he did not have more than 100 yards receiving.
Smith also has 680 all-purpose yards, the third highest in the conference.
Freshman Jeff Burt leads the Frontier Conference in punting distance with 31 punts for 1,331 total yards, averaging 42.9 per attempt.
Kino Detrick, a freshman from Great Falls, leads the conference in forced fumbles with three. He is the only Frontier Conference player to have caused more than one fumble this season.
Detrick is fourth in the conference with two fumble recoveries and seventh overall with tackles for a loss of yardage on defense.
Freshman quarterback Chris Jackson has 1,075 total offensive yards this season, good for a No. 3 position in the conference.
On the ground, Travis Hille leads the Lights with 51 carries for 170 yards.
On the punt return, T Artis and Travis Crawford are a deep-field threat. Artis averages 12.3 yards per punt return and 17.7 yards on kick returns.
Crawford has notched 521 total all-purpose yards.
Defensively, Troy Martin, Brad Ferris, Darren Fike and Josh Fike are strong. Martin has snatched two interceptions for 50 yards and Ferris had one for 15 yards.
Free safety Darren Fike is quick with his hands while Josh Fike leads the Lights with 28 solo tackles. Dan Polk leads the Lights in quarterback sacks.
Dan Yaeger, returning tight end from last years exhibition season, is unsure of his start Saturday. JT Schubert would be his replacement.
Starter Lucas Gunderson, who had his knee scoped this week, is still out with an injury.
Playing down there, it will be a good test, Currie said. A chance to win on the road and a good test to find out if we can go into somebody elses hometown, especially that far away, and win one.
The South Dakota game is the first of three road games, followed by Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, and Western Montana College in Dillon.
The Lights will return home Oct. 23, to take on the Carroll College Fighting Saints. The Saints defeated the Lights Sept. 9, 69-0 at Helena.
Were going to put on a lot of miles in the next three weeks, Currie said. Once they start believing in themselves, theyll be fine.