Football is back and Fall is on its way.
The Montana Grizzly Football team couldn’t have started their season off on a better note. Beating the historic power house Appalachian State 30-6.
This year’s football team has many new faces and new looks both offensively and defensively. One of the most exciting new faces is running back Travon “Juice” Van the transfer from Marshall. Under the lights on Saturday night he had 20 carries for over 100 yards. Although he isn’t listed as the starter (Jordan Canada), he will become a household name by mid season. Jordan Canada rushed for over 100 yards on the ground, but most of them came when App St. was beat down and well out of the game.
Jordan Johnson was the story line for the home opener. With a record crowd attendance Jordan Johnson lead the Grizzlies to a flawless first half. Going 11-11 at one point in pass completions/attempts. Many believe in the Griz after a poor season last year and picture perfect start this season.
After such a high stage to start the season, the Grizzlies will have a bye this week then travel to North Dakota for the second straight year. Last year they attacked the Griz secondary and went for more than 680 yards through the air. They will try to exploit the Griz secondary again this year. With possibly the best front seven in the Big Sky Conference, it is easy to see our secondary is the weakest point of the defense.
Several returners on defense include Brock Coyle, Jordan Tripp, J.P. Kanongata’, Anthony Goodwin, Bo Tully, Nate Harris, Matt Hermansen, Alex Bienneman, Zach Wageman, and the young Tyrone Holmes. Tonga Takai was suspended for the opener but will return for the rest of the season. Zach Wageman will lead the defensive line with his freakish Jared Allen like rushing abilities. Tryone Holmes is a young star in the making and between Bienneman, Takai and Caleb Kidder the middle will be set.
Our Linebackers are by far the best in the conference, but Tripp and Coyle lack when put into coverage. For the Griz to be a threat and reach the playoffs they will need corners Harris, Goodwin, and Josh Denard to step up especially with senior Sean Murray possibly being out for the year. Bo Tully and Matt Hermansen won’t be studs but should show to be athletic enough to stop the over the top.
With a great running game Jordan Johnson won’t be made to force anything and should see consistant play and great numbers to lead our young receiver core. Taylor Walcott missed the home opener, but Washington transfer Jamal Jones looks to be a soon to be favorite target and work horse. Ellis Henderson in his second year will be a solid compliment and deep threat. Tight End Clay Pierson will be sure to be solid in the short game and blocking schemes. With Walcott healthy, and Cam Warren in the slot our offense can be deadly behind a great offensive line and Jordan Johnson. Look for Marq Rogers and Sean Haynes to get some playing time at receiver as well.
With a tough schedule but high potential this years Grizzly team is exciting. My guess is they finish second in the conference behind Eastern Washington and make the playoffs with a deadly and championship ready team.
But who can beat the powerful North Dakota State?!
Don’t miss the home games between Cal Poly, and Eastern Washington as they will light up Washington Grizzly Stadium.
If you enjoyed the game Saturday under the lights…..Don’t Worry
There will be more to come in the playoffs this year in Missoula Montana.
Find out more information on these topics and plenty more upcoming local/national sports news at Play Missoula’s/playmissoula.org website- Shane’s Sportin’ Up Blog. Or KBGA 89.9 Sports talk.