Rocky battles in shooutout with MSU-N

Rocky Mountain College’s Sam Sparks punches the ball into the end zone Sept. 7 at Herb Klindt Field in a 53-34 victory over Montana State-Northern. Sparks, a Billings Senior graduate, is one of nine Rocky seniors who will be honored Saturday. 

BILLINGS — It’s Senior Day on Saturday at Herb Klindt Field as the Rocky Mountain College football team will play its last home game of the season.

While the past couple of weeks haven’t gone exactly as the Battlin’ Bears would have hoped, first-year coach Chris Stutzriem has noted plenty of positives as the team readies to host Eastern Oregon on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Battlin’ Bears (3-6 overall, 2-6 Frontier Conference) have dropped their past two contests with a 40-10 loss at Montana Western and 51-17 setback at home against Carroll College.

“The guys are working hard. They could have folded. I’m proud of that,” Stutzriem said. “I’m excited to see them play on Saturday.

“The guys’ attitudes and efforts have been really good. I’m excited to see Saturday and carry it out there.”

Eastern Oregon (2-6, 2-7) lost last week to undefeated and league-leading College of Idaho 24-17. The Mountaineers have dropped three straight contests.

“They only lost to College of Idaho by a touchdown last week,” Stutzriem said. “It’s just another week in the Frontier.

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“Coach (Tim) Camp does an outstanding job with his team. They are a tough team. But, we just have to take it to them. We have to have the mentality we are the best team and go get them.”

Nine seniors, eight players and a student coach, will be honored on Saturday.

Those players are Shane Larson, Devin Pope, Josh Kraft, Sam Sparks, Devonte Woods, Jimmy Henderson, Chase Truscott and Denton Wetherell. Joe Gallatin is a student coach who is a senior.

All of the seniors will graduate Stutzriem said.

“They are outstanding guys. I am really excited for them,” Stutzriem said. “I’m excited to see they stuck it out and bought in and are graduating and moving on as outstanding citizens.”

Gallatin retired from playing this year due to injuries and has been helping coach Spencer Chamberlain with the linebackers.

Former Rocky Mountain College athletic director Bruce Parker will be honored with the Frontier Conference’s Ron “Swede” Kenison Award at halftime.

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Email Gazette Deputy Sports Editor John Letasky at john.letasky@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJohnL