I’m not one to go around talking about how hard my job is.
After all, I get watch sports for a living. I get paid to go to games I’d probably go to anyway and talk to athletes and coaches about game plans and schemes and victories and losses, and most of those people I talk to about those things, I’d probably talk to about them with anyway.
But once in a while I like to talk about how easy my job can be. And the Montana State University-Northern football team’s 42-10 win over Dickinson State Saturday at Blue Pony Stadium was one of those times when my job is very easy.
That’s because the nine Northern seniors who played their final home game of their career Saturday are the type of players that make my job easy and make it so enjoyable.
I’ve covered the Lights for the last eight years, and I’ve seen eight seniors classes come and go. Many of those classes have been unforgettable, especially since the Northern program is still relatively a new program in the grand scheme of college football, and every senior who has come through MSU-N over my time at the Havre Daily News has had a hand in continuing to build the program up.
But the 2012 senior class has been one I truly won’t ever forget because there are so many great individual stories inside the group.
Stephen Silva is one no Northern fan will ever forget.
After all, he’s the school’s all-time leading rusher, he holds about every rushing record there is at Northern and he’s dazzled us for years with his breakaway speed, his toughness and his heart.
Silva has also been a great student, a great leader and a great addition to the community. He's also been great to work with. He was always there to interview, whether the Lights won by 30, or lost by three. He was always willing to talk and always willing to offer insight, into himself and his team.
Those are the types of guys sports writer's respect so much.
And the entire Northern senior class is like that, and I have the utmost respect for all nine Lights who played their last game at home on Saturday.
Another great story is Matt Reyant, recruited out of Helena as a quarterback. He burned his redshirt to finish his true freshman season as the Lights’ QB after injuries left the team decimated. Four years later, Reyant is a team captain and one of the top safeties in the Frontier Conference.
That same unselfishness can be seen throughout Northern’s senior class. What James Chandless did in switching from fullback to linebacker this season is nothing short of remarkable. The fact that he made the transition at all is spectacular, but Chandless is going to finish his senior season total tackles.
On the other end of the spectrum is Justin Montelius, who gave up a starting linebacker spot after his freshman season to help improve the Lights’ depth at running back. The things that Reyant, Chandless and Montelius did for the Northern program are the kinds of things we wish all our leaders would do, just like unsung players like Johnny Figueroa and Ralph Huizar have done in their time betterment of the team.
And the list of things the Northern senior class has been about goes on and one. There’s Kyle Johnston, who in just two short years has had about as big an impact on the MSU-N offense as any transfer ever has, while Mike Carbone has done the same on the defensive line.
And no one will forget Brock Hyder. Where would the Lights have been without him anchoring the offensive line all these years?
It’s players like this year’s Northern senior class that make being a sportswriter’s job so easy. They have been fun to watch, they’ve been great people to interview and talk to and get to know, and they’ve given me great stories to write during their time at MSU-N. And that’s why, for me, it was so gratifying to watch them have one more happy day at Blue Pony Stadium.
I know how much Northern’s program will miss this senior class when the season ends Saturday in Billings as Northern plays its final game of 2012. Because wins and losses aside, this senior class has done a lot more for Northern football than meets the eye.
And though I only get to write about them, I’m going to miss them too. These Northern seniors haven’t just done a lot for the program, they’ve done a lot for me to and for that, I’ll never forget them.