By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The defense was the anchor during the fall, and it appears to be the weightiest during spring drills for the MSU-Northern Lights football team.
"I think on defense we look really tough," Lights head coach Walt Currie said. "After our first (practice) series, they pretty much picked up the tempo. I've seen some good things on defense."
Kino Detrick, a native of Great Falls, is one returning strength for the Lights' defense.
Detrick, a defensive end, was named MVP of the defensive team for Northern last fall. He was also named to the second team All-Conference for the Frontier Conference.
Detrick finished the year ranked eighth in the Frontier Conference in tackles, averaging 8.8 per game.
He was ranked ninth in sacks, averaging nearly one per game. He was ranked third in forced fumbles and sixth in fumbles recovered.
Joel Onsager, a corner back from Ronan, led the Frontier Conference in forced fumbles. He was fifth in interceptions, and seventh in pass deflections in the league.
Josh Fike, a second team All-Conference selection, was ranked fifth in the league in interceptions. Fike, a linebacker from Deer Lodge, led the team in tackles and tackles for loss.
Fike was also named Top Newcomer for the defense last fall.
Greg Ferguson, a defensive tackle from Helena, led the conference in fumbles recovered.
Bill McGuire, a cornerback from Philipsburg, led the Lights in interceptions, averaging nearly half per game. He was fourth in the league.
Troy Martin, a free safety from Lincoln, Neb., was sixth in the league in interceptions.
Darren Fike, a defensive back from Big Timber, was named second team All-Conference. He was second in the league in pass deflections and fifth in tackles.
Will Barrett, a freshman from Augusta, was named most improved defensive player last season and will get the start at the eagle end position in the scrimmage on Thursday.
Here is how the defense stacks up:
Eagle end Will Barrett, 6-0, Augusta; Tim Malsam, 6-2, Chinook; Jared Askeland, 6-0, Simms.
Eagle tackle Dan Polk, 6-0, Kalispell; Toby Deputy, 6-0, Paradise Valley.
Nose tackle Bomont Somerfeld, 6-0, Power; Chad Estlund, 6-3, Clarkston, Wash.
Somerfeld was named Scout Player of the Year for the Lights last season.
Drop tackle Kino Detrick, 6-1, Great Falls; Anthony Alvarado, 6-2, Havre.
Sam Linebacker Lucas Gunderson, 6-2, Choteau; Mark Nay, 6-3, Helena; Stormy Watne, 5-9, Helena.
Linebacker Josh Fike, 5-11, Deer Lodge; Eric Burk, 6-0, Whitefish; Larry Klingaman, 5-9, Chinook; Eric Wilting, 6-1, Harlowton.
Wilting signed with the Lights in February. The 210-pound linebacker was a first team All-State selection for the Engineers in 1998.
Left corner Bryan Kott, 5-10, Bozeman; Conrad Duffy, 5-11, Great Falls; Chad Conover, 5-8, Broadview.
Duffy, a transfer from Missouri Valley College, played on a team that qualified for the playoffs in 1999.
He also played second base for the Missouri Valley baseball team. He was a graduate of Great Falls High.
Strong safety Troy Gunlock, 6-2, Polson; Kott; Ryan Utterback, 6-0, Fort Benton.
Free safety Darren Fike, 5-8, Big Timber; Martin; Duffy.
Right corner McGuire; Josh Kirby, 5-10, Havre.
Willy linebacker Chad Rearden, 6-1, Great Falls; Matt Schumacher, 6-0, Great Falls; Kris Sewell, 5-11, Deer Lodge.
The punt return crew consists of T. Artis and Richard Jarvis. Artis led the team in the fall in punt return, averaging 24.1 yards per game.
Artis and Travis Crawford will also share kick return responsibilities.
The Lights will scrimmage on Thursday, 6 p.m., at the Blue Pony Stadium. The public in encouraged to attend the free event.