Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Firsts in the First Week

"Rocky" by mdt1960
"Rocky", a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
Just for the record, I’m counting this past weekend as the first week of high school football in Montana and Wyoming even if there were a handful of games last week. Supporting my argument, almost everyone was on the gridiron this past week including the six-man teams.

And if it was the first week, it was a week of firsts too, starting in Red Lodge with their newly minted mascot—the Rams. The game’s announcer started the evening with, “Good evening Redskin fans, welcome to a new era of Red Lodge Rams Football.” Once that was said, there was no looking back to the old mascot name as the new mascot delivered. Red Lodge went to work on the Herders (a uniquely Montana mascot name if there ever was one) of Big Timber, scoring the game’s first touchdown and never relinquishing the lead in the Class B eleven-man contest.

During the off-season the school and community of Red Lodge were actively considering and choosing a replacement for their old and culturally-insensitive Redskins. I was secretly and silently hoping a unique mascot name would rise to the top like Ropers, Silverbacks or Loggers, but it wasn’t to be.

Break by mdt1960
Break, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
While sitting in the stands and enjoying the game, I wondered what would happen if someone blurted out, “C’mon Redskins!” Perhaps someone did (or will someday), but Red Lodge appears to have gone to great lengths in establishing and securing this new mascot name, including a “Rocky” the Ram costume worn by a Red Lodge student.

For the history books, Red Lodge’s Dylan Buckstead will go down as the first Ram to score a touchdown on a 20-yard pass from quarterback Sean Sullivan in the first quarter.

Big Sky’s Lone Peak
Off To The Game by mdt1960
Off To The Game, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
Saturday I wondered into virgin football country just south of Bozeman to watch the very first football game played by the Lone Peak Big Horns (take note Red Lodge fans) as they hosted the Fromberg-Roberts Falcons.

The Big Horns were reminiscent of the Farson-Eden Pronghorns (yep, another classic mascot name) in their first season of play two years ago. Despite having more players than Fromberg and matching them in size, the Falcons were clearly superior in all of the fundamentals of football such as tackling, throwing, running with the ball and blocking—all of which are terribly critical early in the season.

Good coaching aside, I suspect this mastery of game fundamentals would also be attributed to the cumulative playing experience of the Fromberg-Roberts team. As a result, the Big Horn players, including its eight upperclassmen, will never forget Fromberg-Roberts—the first opponent of their budding football careers. After the six-man shoot-out and with his team huddled in the center of the field, Lone Peak head coach Tony Beardsley looked at his players, “Well, now you know what it’s like to get hit.”

Despite the somewhat lopsided score, the first-football-game-ever party did not appear to be spoiled by the visitors. The Big Horns treated the ski-based community and its large gathering of fans to a kickoff return, a touchdown pass and several big plays from its defense.

Open by mdt1960
Open, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
Along with Red Lodge, the Lone Peak gridiron is one of the more scenic settings for a football game with its mountainous landscape encompassing the field and school. I hope they don’t install lights anytime soon.

Other Games
A welcoming congratulations goes out to the victorious Darby Tigers and the Hot Springs Savage Heat in their first eight-man and six-man games respectively.

Chinook and Superior… big wins over competitive conference foes. Will it be a downhill run for them into the playoffs?

Alberton and Ekalaka… the newest six-man contenders joining the ranks of Denton, Savage and Big Sandy?

1 comment:

Dipu Islam said...


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