BILLINGS — Blake Allred and Nolan Askelson have wreaked havoc on opposing offenses for the past two football seasons as all-state linebackers for Billings Senior.
Now, the two will have that opportunity to continue that dominance at the college level.
Allred committed to Montana State on Friday night, saying over Twitter, "I am excited to announce that I will be continuing my football career, as well as my academics at the next level with Montana State University!!! #GOCATSGO #THEVIS18N."
The two suited up together for the final time on the high school football field on Nov. 17. But Allred said it will mean a lot to continue being teammates going forward.
"Nolan's one of my best buddies so to be able to play with him for a couple more years will be great," Allred said. "I trust him a lot and we have a good chemistry going so that will be good to try and keep that going."
Allred said his fellow Bronc reached out to him to congratulate him on his commitment to the Cats.
"I've wanted to play in the FCS since I was little back in Little Guy Football," Allred said. "It was coming down to the wire between them and Montana and their situation appealed to me more so I decided to pull the trigger on them and I'm just excited about it.
"I like the direction (head coach Jeff) Choate is taking his program and they've been recruiting me pretty good since last summer and so I went to the camp back in the summer with Nolan and I just liked where things were going and I just wanted to be a Bobcat."
Allred said Choate, special teams coordinator and high school relations specialist B.J. Robertson and wide receivers coach Matt Miller all played a role in his recruitment. Allred watched the Bobcats play live when they hosted South Dakota State and rival Montana this past year, saying seeing that atmosphere first-hand was a fun experience.
"It was pretty wild. Bobcat fans were sure into it," Allred said about MSU's 31-23 victory over the Griz. "It was pretty sweet."
Allred has been a two-year starter for the Broncs at the linebacker position, where as a junior he was named second team all-state at inside linebacker before netting first team honors as a senior. He was also named second team this year at the fullback position. Allred finished the season with 113 tackles for the Broncs, 11 of which were for a loss. As a fullback, Allred racked up 115 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns including one in the state championship game against Helena.
With Allred as one of the main contributors, the Broncs' defense has been staunch and the best in the state for two years as Senior has won back-to-back Class AA state championship titles and 26 straight games.
"I mean, it was pretty surreal. Winning it after a 37-year drought and then going back-to-back, I knew our class was special but to do that was just incredible," Allred said.
Arguably Allred's splashiest play for Senior came in the 2016 state championship game against Kalispell Glacier, where Allred intercepted a pass and took it back for a 4-yard touchdown that helped swing momentum to the Broncs as halftime approached.
College football was always on Allred's list of goals, and as the success at the high school level came, Allred said he started believing that the possibility of playing at the next level would become more of a reality. He chose Montana State over offers from Montana and NAIA schools Montana Tech, Rocky Mountain College, Carroll College, Montana Western, Dickinson State and Minot State.
Allred will also be joining fellow Senior alum Keaton Anderson, a defensive back who redshirted this past year for the Cats. On the flip-side, Allred will suit up against his current Bronc classmate Gabe Sulser, who will play for the Grizzlies next season.
Did they give each other any grief?
"A little bit but he's Gabe, he'll always be one of my closest friends so even though we'll be on opposite sides of the Divide it'll be fun to keep that friendship going and compete against each other," Allred said.
Allred will sign his letter of intent to make it official on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
"I'm looking forward to getting up there and start competing with other recruits and getting to meet them and getting to meet some of the veteran guys that have been there for awhile," Allred said. "I just want to get up there and prove my worth and get to work."