Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Chase Is Still On… Five Years Later

A Great Eight
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
Five years ago, I took a special trip to Drummond, Montana with the hopes of photographing members of their Class C eight-man championship team—beyond the action of their games on the gridiron. Suffering from an upper-respitory cold combined with a 300-mile drive, I was determined to catch them at a mid-week practice in hopes of witnessing just a small bit of the ordinary in this extraordinary team and its players.

Clearly there was something special about that Trojan team as they drew nearer to their third consecutive Class C eight-man state title. Arguably, there were only two games that were ever in doubt during those three years and even that doubt was swept away by the third quarter. I also suspected that it would be a long time before I ever saw anything like this again in my small town football haunts—maybe never.

Most notably in my eyes was that Drummond was not only a team that went undefeated in three years, but handily defeated other undefeated teams. There was Belt, Harlowton, Wibaux, Big Sandy, Chinook, Stanford, and Park City—all undefeated teams that suffered great losses (many shut-outs) when they finally met up with the Trojans in the playoffs or title game.

For the record, from front to back in this photo; that’s Tyrell Cockrell, Chase Reynolds, Cody Alt, Petey Carillo, Clay Cantrell, Cody Baker, Eric McGregor and Alex Verlanic. Funny, I still know there names and remember how to spell them. How is it possible that the youngest of men can make a lasting impression on a middle-aged one?

Looking back, one could almost see them as immortals in the realm of eight-man football, but we can be sure that each of them has gone on to experience their own setbacks of humanness whether on the field or elsewhere.

In all three years Chase Reynolds was first team all-state on both sides of the ball, but it was clear that the other Trojan starters were all-state material as well, especially if they had been scattered amongst the other Class C teams—and perhaps even the higher classes. Nevertheless, many still joined Reynolds on the all-state team that was heavily weighted with Drummond talent.

Over Drummond
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
This past week, maybe an hour’s drive down the interstate from Drummond, University of Montana senior running back Chase Reynolds, broke a school record in notching his 54th career touchdown for the Griz. Having watched Reynolds play high school, it doesn’t surprise me too much but it does seem a bit surreal in that he came from such an obscure venue of the game. It will seem just as surreal if he is gainfully employed in the NFL by this time next year. Congratulations Chase. In the words of a colleague, “Strong work.”

As a footnote, Alex Verlanic is still blocking defenders for Reynolds as the starting center for the Griz.

Lastly, thanks to Drummond head coach Jim Oberweiser for allowing these photos to materialize on that October day back in 2005.

Other Drummond-Related Entries:


Anonymous said...

Love your blog, have for years. I have a story within a story for you. Savage might win a state championship this year. It would be their first since 85 or 86 I think. Right now they are coached by Bart Haflich who had been the assistant for the past 4 years and Wade Hagler who was on the last state winning team. Savage went 7-1 last year and returned most of their starters. So why did coach Ben Roberts not return? Savage stills runs pretty much the same offense and defense as they had under Roberts who was the head coach the past 4 years. Roberts was actually helping out in Rosebud for part of the season but is now in Sidney again. He goes to the Savage games. After this year Savage will still have 3 really good returning starters who have been starters since their freshman year. Chris Reynolds, Shad Standford, and Braden Ler are all juniors and have started every year. Lots of interesting stories surround Savage. Oh yeah Roberts has a blog at

Anonymous said...

Ben Roberts left Savage due to issues off the field. His lack of leadership and character were not assets to the team and the team has played much smarter and more cohesive ball since he left.

Anonymous said...

I wish people really knew. No one knew about the incident until after the season. Ben took the job when no one else wanted it and gave the football program a much needed face lift. Look at the relationships he has with the boys that have ever played for him. Ben has admitted to his mistakes and asked for forgiveness. Ben is a huge reason why we are where we are.

Logan said...

Great story and yes that team was unbelievable. I was a member of that previously undefeated Belt team that unfortunately had to cross paths with them in the quarters. To this day I am still in awe of the physicality those boys played with. At the time our time was all seniors and juniors. This was Drummonds first championship and the majority of their players were sophomores.