Lights make plays in first spring scrum


Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Bryce Bumgardner, right, hauls in a tough catch during Friday's first spring ball scrimmage at the MSU-Northern practice field. The Northern offense was led by Bumgardner and quarterback Brendan Medina.

Spring football is about halfway over for the Montana State University-Northern Lights and Friday night, they put their work to the test with a short scrimmage.

The Lights took to the MSU-N practice field late Friday afternoon and took part in a fully padded, live scrimmage with the only exception being no hits on the quarterback.

And after an hour of intense, hard-hitting football, head coach Andrew Rolin was pleased with what he saw.

"I really liked the way that we came out and competed," Rolin said. "We needed to try and make it as game-like as possible and give these guys a chance to test themselves and we saw some good things. There are things we need to work on but there were a lot of positives."

Early on, the offense was able to drive the length of the field for a score, as redshirt freshman quarterback Brenden Medina capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Bryce Bumgardner. It was the first of a few connections between Medina and the senior wide receiver who was one of the most productive wideouts in the Frontier Conference a year ago.

After the defense forced a three-and-out, the offense started from its own 40-yard line and was able to move the ball into the red zone thanks to completions to Bumgardner and Marvin Williams. Another completion to Bumgardner moved the ball inside the five and eventually, Medina was able to cap the drive with a two-yard touchdown run.

"I thought we had some great execution in the red zone today," Rolin said. "I was excited about some of the plays that we were able to make offensively. Just as exciting defensively, we had some great stops."

Medina who quarterbacked the offense the entire scrimmage moved the offense deep down the field on the third drive of the day. Andrez-Trahan Proctor and Sam Braboy were able to rip off some nice runs and a completion to incoming transfer Cal Holgate of from Minot State gave the offense a first down just outside the 10. Eventually, though, the defense forced a fourth-and-one and Proctor was stopped short.

On another drive, Northern settled for a field-goal attempt after a 20-yard catch-and-run by transfer Tim Robinson put the Lights into scoring position. Yet, Bumgardner was unable to come down with a fade on third down and Northern kicked a field goal.

While those two stops in the red zone were accompanied by a pair of three-and-outs by the defense, the biggest play of the scrimmage came from defensive back Caleb Knoche. The offense had advanced the ball into the red zone again, one of the five times total during the scrimmage, and this time, Knoche jumped a swing route, intercepted a Medina pass and returned it around 80 yards for a touchdown.

"That was a really great play by him," Rolin said. "That was really instinctual."

The defense was strong against the run throughout the scrimmage as Jett Robertson, Braboy and Proctor struggled to find much running room. The defensive line was also able to generate some pressure and one drive ended abruptly after three plays thanks to a third-down sack from Joe Fehr.

"We are getting better and we have improved a lot this spring," Rolin said. "We still need to improve our tackling. We missed a couple today and we have to keep working on that technique but it was nice to see our defense make some plays."

Rolin said he was also pleased with his quarterback, who finished with one touchdown rushing and throwing, as well as just one turnover.

"I thought he did a nice job," Rolin said. "He made some really good throws and he managed things well and when he did make a mistake, he was able to bounce back from it. We still need to do a better job in the red zone and I have been a broken record saying that we just can't shoot ourselves in the foot."

The Lights will practice this week and next week before wrapping up spring football with their scrimmage April 20.

Colin Thompson

Sam Braboy is met by the Lights' defense during Friday's scrimmage. For more photos, go to


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