BILLINGS — Griff Amies will be carrying more than a kicking tee when the Rocky Mountain College football team takes the field on Saturday.
The Battlin’ Bears (5-4, 5-3) play their final home game on Saturday, taking on Eastern Oregon (2-6, 2-6) at noon.
The program will honors its seniors prior to the game. It is also Military Appreciation Day.
Rocky will close out the regular season at Montana Western on Nov. 11.
Amies, a senior kicker, will be carrying a ceremonial spear on to the field an honor that goes to the top special teams — nicknamed Special Forces — player from the previous game. It’s based on a points system designed by the coaching staff.
Amies certainly earned the honor, kicking a season-long 45-yard field goal as time expired to lift Rocky over No. 11-ranked Montana Tech 30-27 last weekend in Butte. He was selected the NAIA special teams player of the week for a second time this season.
“It was a fun bus ride home,” said Battlin’ Bears head coach Jason Petrino.
Rocky also adds a ribbon in the school colors of the defeated opponent to the spear.
The Battlin’ Bears are a solid third in the league standings and looking to post back-to-back wins for the first time this year since defeating Montana State-Northern (Sept. 2) and Carroll College (Sept. 9).
“We get a chance to win back-to-back games and get some momentum going into the off season,” said Petrino, whose team adopted the mantra of “The Climb” this season. “Any win in this conference is a step forward.”
The Mountaineers have lost three straight. However in both losses, against Montana Western and College of Idaho, EOU had more than 500 yards in total offense.
Quarterback Kai Quinn leads the Mountaineers in both rushing and passing. Quinn has rushed 93 times for 506 yards and five touchdowns and is 129 of 242 passing for 1,709 yards and 11 scores. He threw for 338 yards in a 30-21 loss to Montana Western.
“They trust him with the ball,” Petrino said. “He makes a lot of plays happen.”
Rocky running back Mason Melby rushed for a career-high 163 yards in the win over Montana Tech and has nine touchdowns this season. Freshman quarterback Drew Korf has stepped in and thrown for 859 yards in six games and eight touchdowns.
Petrino added that linebacker Chase Bertelsen could return to the field after sitting out against the Orediggers because of back problems. Freshman Kyle Frazier stepped into Bertelsen’s role and had three tackles.
Frazier is one of eight true freshmen who have played for Rocky this season. Six have started at least one game.
“It’s critical for us to play well early,” said Petrino. “When we’ve been most successful is when we’ve started well.”
A victory would give Rocky its most wins since 2013 when the team was 8-4. Last year’s team lost its last four games to finish 4-7.
“We have a chance to flip the script a little bit,” Petrino said.