By Alan Sorensen
Avenging a 54 to 6 loss to the Fighting Saints of Carroll College in Helena Oct. 7 will be on the minds of the Montana State University-Northern Lights leading up to the 6:30 p.m. kickoff Friday. But there's more to the game than just winning and losing for the young Lights.
For Head Coach Walt Currie, maturity, determination and hanging onto the ball are lofty goals for the team that won't be celebrating senior night during its last home game of the season. The reason? The Lights, in only their second year back on the Frontier Conference gridiron circuit, don't have a single senior on their roster.
Currie said his inexperienced Lights picked up quite a bit of experience in their 49-21 loss last Saturday to Southern Oregon.
"That was probably the best football team we've played all year," Currie said. "They were quite a bit bigger and stronger than most of them we played this year."
The six interceptions Northern gave up last Saturday pointed to a problem the Lights have suffered all season. It's something Currie hopes his team can turn around.
"Being this young we just have to cut down on our turnovers," Currie said. "That's something that has plagued us all year and it's something we can't allow to happen if we're going to be in a football game."
Currie said his players know what to expect from Carroll and that they just need to get back to basics and play fundamental, error-free football.
"They've managed to thump on us every time we've played them," Currie said of the Saints. "I figure we're going to get close and return the favor one of these days.
"We feel that we can play with them. It's just a matter of getting the job done on the field."
Offensively, the Lights have two simple goals.
"We've just got to hopefully run the ball a little better," Currie said, "and try to make better choices, so we don't throw interceptions and things like that better choices on our throws."
Defensively, the Lights can expect variety.
"They're a pretty balanced, run-and-pass team, and we'll just try to be a little more solid on our assignments on defense, more than we were the last time we played them," Currie said. "The biggest thing is if we can contain their quarterback, because usually, if he can get out in scramble-type situations, that's when he makes the big plays."
Currie said local football fans should be salivating come game time, because of this weekend's busy schedule at Blue Pony Stadium.
"I think it will be kind of neat with the (Havre High-Dillon) playoff game on Saturday and being able to pick up a college game on Friday night," Currie said. "It should be a good weekend for the football fans in Havre. We want to wish the Ponies the best Saturday."
Currie, who had a successful run as head coach of the Havre Blue Ponies, said he was glad to be coaching in Blue Pony Stadium again.
It's equally good for team, coach and fans.
"That stadium is one of the great ones in the country," Currie said. "When it's cold out, you can drive in, sit in your car and watch the game, have a barbecue, basically do anything you want to do."