GETS AROUND — Cowboy quarterback sophomore Wesley Varnum (8) eludes the grasp Kellen Murack (47) during a scrimmage on Friday. Trailing the play is sophomore lineman Ryan Townsend. Conrad begins the season for real on Friday with the Malta Mustangs in for the home opener. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
As its been in the past the Cowboy football team will be having a big test right out of the chute when the Malta Mustangs come to town on Friday.
The Mustangs lost three players who had state honors behind their name, but they also return five players who got some form of all league recognitions including All-State lineman Kyle Boos.
The Cowboys says Coach Joe Moerkerke, “We’ll have four seniors on the squad.” They will have to step up and provide leadership for 16 juniors, 10 sophomores and eight freshmen.
Senior players include Caleb Goyette who at 6’-1” 265 pounds will go both ways on the line. Grant Grubb is a 6’-0” 170 pound wide receiver and defensive back.
Colter Knox at 6’-0” 175 pounds will see duty as a running back and linebacker and Bryce Watterud at 6”-0” 195 pounds will be a tight end and linebacker.
The Cowboys lost some height at the quarterback slot with All State player Josiah Moerkerke graduating. Joe Ries, a 6’-0” junior, is slated to be the starter. However he will have a big target in junior Ben Moerkerke who is 6’-6” and 190 pounds playing a wide out and defensive back.
Coach Moerkerke says the Cowboys will still be utilizing the run-pass option, but this year, “We have some faster overall team speed.” And with bigger numbers there will be more juniors and sophomores getting playing time.
Another target for Ries will be speed merchant Sam Carroll a 5’-10”, 145 pound wide receiver. Luke Schlosser, a championship wrestler is another speedy wideout who is 5’-5” and 125 pounds.
Other juniors are Clay Winters who will play both ways as a receiver and defensive back, Blayne Underdahl who can go either way as a running back and linebacker, and Lucas Schultz who will help anchor the offensive and defensive line.
Alex Finlayson, Caleb Gouchenour, Sam Larson, Kyle Linn, Tyler Nelson, Ryan Orcutt, Dallas VanLuchene, Charles Roderick and Cody Seaman round out the junior players.
Sophomore players out for the squad include Bryan Barker, Seth Diedrich, Kyle Dyrud, Justin Fritz, Kellen Murack, Trent Pearson, Justin Ratzburg, Ryan Townsend and Wesley Varnum.
Freshmen players include Josh Ashworth, Jake Bender, Logan Gouchenour, Morgan Koenig, Matt Missik, Seth Moerkerke, Garrett Moritz and Tyler Padilla.
Assistant coaches are Bob Bender, Brian Fladstol and Jeremie LaBarre. Rich Murack is back as the team trainer.
Ray Palmer is the team manager with Meagan Breding, Alex Gage and Tori Fladstol taking care of the statistics.
Outside football pundits have the Cowboys picked to be just 1-4 in conference play and 3-5 overall and placing fifth in the conference standings, just ahead of Cascade who is picked to be sixth.
The top four spots, so they say, go to Fairfield, Shelby, Cut Bank and Choteau.
The hotdogs will be ready and the football will leave the kicking tee at 7 p.m. as the Cowboys begin the season at home.
Folks, with a program in one hand and hotdog in the other, it doesn’t get too much better on a Friday night.