With his team facing a must-win situation every game for the rest of the season, Billings Outlaws' head coach Joe Curtiss is trying to fortify his team with a good luck charm.
Albeit, a very large talisman.
The Outlaws have brought offensive lineman Brad Halsten out of retirement to play tonight against the Wyoming Cavalry.
The National Indoor Football League game will begin at 7 p.m. at Metra.
The Outlaws, at the bottom of the Pacific West standings, are 2-4 overall and 1-4 within the division. Wyoming is 4-2 overall and 3-2 within the division.
The Cavalry defeated Billings, 62-54, two weeks ago in Casper, Wyo.
A year ago, Halsten joined the team about the same time during the season and helped the Outlaws solidify their offensive line and make a run to the NIFL championship game.
"It's hard to find offensive lineman and he's a good one," said Curtiss. "Brad can definitely still play."
Halsten, a former Rocky Mountain College player, was an original member of the Billings Thunder Bolts. This marks his fourth straight year with the Billings indoor football franchise. He was serving as the offensive line coach for the Outlaws this season.
"I'm a good talker," said Curtiss of getting Halsten to play again. "There is a sense of urgency here. When he joined us last year, we were able to put together a run.
"We've got to put it together and get a little streak of winning games going."
The Outlaws are coming off their best defensive effort in two seasons, shutting down the Omaha Beef, 34-18. Omaha had entered the game leading the NIFL in scoring, rushing and total offense.
The Billings' defense will have to shut down Wyoming quarterback Matt Strand. Strand completed just 12 passes against the Outlaws in the first game, but four went for touchdowns of 34, 21, 45 and 20 yards. Strand tossed five touchdown passes in his team's 50-44 win over Rapid City last week.
"Wyoming is a good football team. Their offense is explosive," Curtiss said. "We've got to limit their big plays. We have to make them earn it.
"We played them better in the red zone. We have to force them to move the ball on us.
"We didn't play a bad game against them the last time. We just had those turnovers that killed us."
Quarterback Albert Higgs threw for 251 yards and five touchdowns against Wyoming, but was intercepted three times — including the final two possessions of the game for the Outlaws.
He sat out most of last week's game against Omaha, but did come off the bench in the fourth quarter to throw a touchdown on his first pass attempt. Higgs was intercepted in the end zone on his second pass attempt.
Bryan Meier, who quarterbacked Billings against the Beef, returns to receiver. He caught seven passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns against the Cavalry. He had big-play touchdowns of 33, 27 and 26 yards.
"This will put our offense back in sync," said Curtiss of everybody returning to their natural positions on the field.
The Outlaws will be without running back Yohance Humphery, who is out a minimum of three weeks with a separated shoulder. He will be replaced by Jay LeProwse.
Billings is at the bottom of the Pacific West standings, but only two games back of second-place Wyoming with eight games remaining in the regular season.
"I think it's a must-win game," said Curtiss. "It being a division game, a win would bring them back to us."
NOTE: Any student who graduated from Montana State-Billings or Rocky Mountain College will be admitted free to tonight's game with proof of graduation.