Lights look for win in last game of season
The Montana State University-Northern Lights have a chance to end their football season with a win.
At 1-8 on the season, the only playoffs the Lights will be a part of this season are in fantasy football. Still, a win over 25th-ranked UM-Western on Saturday in Dillon would end the season on a positive note, while giving Northern something to build on for next year.
"It's the last game of the season and I would hope they will give it a good last effort," said Lights head coach Walt Currie. "There won't be any football for nine months and a win at the end might make it a little more bearable."
But a win won't come easy. Western is on the outside looking in at the NAIA playoffs. But, Currie knows, with an outside possibility of still being one of 16 teams that qualify, the Bulldogs will doing anything to get a win.
"I don't think they are going to get into the playoffs," Currie said. "But they do have a shot, and it's also senior night there, so they're going to want to win and win big."
Win big is what Western did in Havre on Sept. 20. The Bulldogs scored 21 points in four minutes en route to a 49-7 win over the Lights.
Bulldog quarterback Travis Kirby completed 21 of 29 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns while running for another score in the rout.
Kirby leads the Frontier Conference in passing at 300 yards per game and has thrown 24 touchdowns on the season.
"We will definitely have our work cut out for us," Currie said. "They're a very explosive team and we can't let them score points in bunches like the first game."
Indeed, allowing Western to get a big lead goes against Currie's game plan of using the clock and limiting the number of offensive possessions in the game. He had hoped to run the ball more in the first game, but being down three scores forced his team to put the ball in the air.
"We threw the ball all right," Currie said. "It took us about a quarter to get adjusted. We can't do that this time and let it get out of hand early. We were out of it before halftime."
One thing working in Northern's favor was last week's bye week. The Lights weren't forced to practice in the winter weather and had some players get healed up for the last game.
"We're lucky the break came when it did with the weather being so crummy," Currie said. "It was nice to get a few more practices in. Hopefully it will make us a little more prepared."
With the extra preparation, Currie hopes to attack Western a little differently.
"We'd like to run the ball a little more effectively, but when you give up three scores in three minutes, you just can't run as much," he said.
Currie's biggest hope is that he can send his seniors - Bomont Somerfeld, Dustin Falk, Kris Marshall, L.D. Matthews, Cody Wesche, Pat Gardner, Lowell Hahn (injured), Brad Walters, Brendan Scott, Chris Rhoades, Larry Klingaman, Ryan Utterback, Bill McGuire (injured) and Tanner Woodward - out with a win.
Kickoff for the game has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. due to the Miles City-Dillon state championship game. The game can be heard on 92.5 KPQX-FM.