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Cat crew short on seniors

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Cat crew short on seniors
Cat crew short on seniors

But three of them are from Grizzly country

Maybe you've heard that the Montana State Bobcats are trying to make it through this football season with four seniors, which is something like throwing a buck-fifty at the national debt.

Here's a stat to snack on: Three of the seniors are Montanans from west of the mountains. The Grizzlies have one, guard Leif Thorsen of Kalispell.

Arie Grey of Deer Lodge and Shaun Ross of Stevensville will see lots of time Saturday for the Bobcats in the 100th Brawl of the Wild. Frank Green of Butte is third on the depth chart at tight end.

Grey, a weapon at receiver and returner since his freshman year, is completing his first healthy season. Unfortunately, it's come at a time when MSU's offense has dragged bottom.

Grey leads the team with 27 catches (for 262 yards) and four touchdowns. With a long gain of 28 yards, he hasn't had much of a chance to flash the speed that carried him to three state sprint titles at Deer Lodge.

Since Grey also runs back kicks and punts, this could be the week.

"I'm looking forward to this one," said Grey, whose father Mike is undersheriff of Powell County. "This is a big week for us. Everybody's ready to go and forget those first 10 games. We have the potential. We just have to remember to be consistent."

Ross, a 6-foot-2, 254-pound tackle, has been a staple on the Bobcat defensive line for three years, playing both inside and outside.

"Shaun ranks right there with some of the top guys that have been around here," MSU coach Mike Kramer said. "I'll always point to Shaun Ross, Mike Fellows, Ty O'Connor as some of the great Bobcats who ever played - and it's all lost in a 0-10 season. Jeez."

It might be found again if Ross and Co. turn it into a 1-10 season Saturday. It would be easily the greatest upset in Cat-Griz history and probably one of the biggest in Division I-AA.

Is it a doable?

"Very much so. It's very doable," said Ross, whom Kramer described as a "give-no-quarter type of player."

"We have to stop run, stop pass and score points. Kind of the whole deal," Ross said. "Going into Missoula the crowd's a big factor with that stadium and everything. If we stop 'em early and take the crowd out of it, if the offense puts up some points early and takes the crowd out of it. … We have to play a perfect game, but it can be done."

"We've got to move the ball, we have to control the clock, we have to keep that offense of theirs off the field," added Grey. "No three-and-outs. We need long drives just to build confidence."

Ross went to MSU to study engineering and has since pursued a degree in computer science. His uncle, Rocky, is a professor of computer science, although he hasn't had his nephew in class yet.

His football career nearly over, Ross has two seasons of eligibility remaining for indoor and outdoor track at MSU. He was the Class A state shot put and discus champion for Stevensville in 1996.

A fellow senior honors candidate accompanied Ross up front when the season started. But Nick Morasko of Glendive went down with a shoulder injury in the third game, leaving Ross surrounded by youngsters.

True freshman William Kofe of California took Morasko's spot at tackle. Redshirt freshmen Jon Montoya of Brandon, S.D., and Adam Cordeiro of Boulder share time at end. Dallas Martin, a sophomore from Missoula Hellgate, has played solid in a backup role inside the past couple of games.

"We've got a lot of young people on the team," Ross said. "I don't know how many of them know what this game really means. But we do have some players who know what it's like going into Missoula. It's a big game. People are starting to get jacked."

Reporter Kim Briggeman can be reached at 523-5266 or by e-mail at kbriggeman@missoulian.com.

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