By Ryan Divish
Several players on Montana Tech's offense have adapted the George Costanza philosophy bald is beautiful.
Costanza, the neurotic best friend of Jerry Seinfeld on the television show Seinfeld, wasn't bald by choice. The Tech players are. Trying to dispel the bad luck following three consecutive road losses, several players on the Tech offense shaved their heads bald. Not shaved short, but razor shorn like Mr. Clean or Telly Savalas.
"We had to do something,'' sophomore center Wayne Butori told the Montana Standard.
In a show of solidarity, Tech head coach Bob Green also shaved his head. Green, who also serves as the Orediggers defensive coordinator, wasn't about to let his offense go it alone.
"I love those guys and I don't get the chance to work with them very much,'' Green said. "So the least I can do is look like'em.''
While Costanza would still question the logic of anyone with hair going bald intentionally, the Diggers did snap the losing streak by defeating Eastern Oregon 48-26 in Butte.
Tech will now travel to Carroll College on Saturday for a key Frontier Conference game. The Fighting Saints, fresh off a 37-0 pasting of MSU-Northern, are currently atop the Frontier with a 2-0 conference record. Carroll moved up a few spots to number eight in the NAIA national rankings.
In the past two seasons, both Carroll and Tech tied for the regular season conference titles. However, each year Carroll advanced to the NAIA playoffs via the tiebreaker system.
"We don't like to look ahead," said linebacker Matt Stepan. "But we've been waiting for this one for a while.''
The Montana Tech-Carroll College game will be televised by Omega productions at 1 p.m on Saturday. It can be viewed locally on cable channel 43.
The University of Montana-Western football team is for real. After spanking Rocky Mountain College on statewide television, the Bulldogs defeated No. 22-ranked NCAA Division III Whitworth last week in Dillon, 31-28.
Bulldog's quarterback Travis Kirby's 7-yard scoring run with 1:32 remaining in the game sealed the victory.
For his efforts, Kirby was named Frontier Conference offensive player of the week. Kirby, a junior from Lakewood, Wash., was 24 of 33 passing with a touchdown and an interception against Whitworth. For the season, Kirby has completed 56 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,025 yards and four touchdowns.
Kirby's teammate, linebacker Craig LeCoure, won the defensive award. LeCoure, of Stevensville, had five solo tackles and 10 assists, including a sack and a tackle for a loss in Saturday's win over Whitworth. Western (3-1) handed Whitworth its first loss of the season.
Montana Tech punter Ryan Dunn took the honors for special teams player. Dunn had six punts for 263 yards, for a 43.7 yard average. Dunn, of Lewistown, twice pinned Eastern Oregon inside its 15-yard line with kicks that sailed out of bounds.
Rocky Mountain College has the unenviable task of facing the Southern Oregon Raiders on Saturday. Southern Oregon is ranked seventh in NAIA with a 3-1 record on the season. It will be a clash of styles. Rocky will continue its "Fun-n-Gun" basketball on turf on offense, while the Raiders have a balanced attack that averages almost 200 yards per game rushing.
Southern Oregon, located in Ashland, Ore., is in the midst of horrendously long road trip. The Raiders defeated Humboldt State last weekend in Arcata, Calif. They will travel to Billings this weekend and then head back to Montana the following week to take on MSU-Northern on Oct. 12.
While it seems like football season has just started, new seasons begin in the Frontier. Basketball and wrestling teams began their official practices this week. Since last season, the Frontier has seen its fair share of coaches come and go. There will be a few new faces on the sidelines when the season begins.
The coaching carousel at MSU-Northern continues to spin following last season's debacle in both the men's and women's programs. Last year's interim coach Mike Erickson takes over the Skylight program, while Shawn Huse, a former Montana Tech standout, takes over for Brian Harrell.
Like Erickson, Mike Bauer has had the interim tag removed from his title taking over the Tech men's program. At Rocky Mountain College, Brian Henderson takes over the women's program. Henderson also added former Western grad J.D. Gustin as Rocky's junior varsity team coach.