Posted: Nov 16, 2012 9:13 AM by Derek Buerkle - KPAX Sports
Updated: Nov 16, 2012 9:15 AM
MISSOULA - Nothing has gone according to plan for Montana football this year. This group of seniors has seen plenty of highs to go with the lows, and we asked a few to reflect on their four years with the Grizzlies.
"Seniors don't lie. When you're a freshman and they're like, you better get busy cause before you know it, it's over. I'm staring it right in the face," tight end Greg Hardy said.
Win or lose, the Griz seniors will take off their jerseys for the last time on Saturday, and they enjoyed plenty of success while wearing maroon and silver. They have an overall record of 37-13, a pair of Big Sky Conference titles, a trip to a national championship, and another journey to the semifinals.
The seniors also have plenty of great memories that will last a lifetime.
"App State here in '09. Playing here under the lights. The snow. It was just a great atmosphere," defensive end Josh Harris recalled.
"After we beat Weber last year and that streak that we went on," Hardy told us.
"Beating the Cats last year. It was a great game. I had a good game. And playing in that cold weather," running back Caleb Walden recalled.
Some of the other seniors on the Griz said that it's the teammates and camaraderie that they will miss most.
"Just the friends that you make. It turns into basically your family in the locker room and outside the locker room. So those things really are the things that will stick with me," wide receiver Bryce Carter told us.
"When we work inside when no one is watching. I think those are the best memories that I have," running back Peter Nguyen added.
"The guys you played with. All the hard work you put in in the offseason, and in the season and all that stuff. I just think it's a culmination of everything," offensive linebacker Jake Hendrickson said.
Six of the seniors came from the Treasure State and knew all about the tradition of Montana football. A half-dozen others came from out of state and learned on the fly. But all of them told us, they truly didn't expect the celebrity status that comes with being a Grizzly.
"Little kids coming up to you after the game. Just wanting your autograph. Things like that. You're not used to that," Harris said.
"How big you are to these people, and how important of a role model you are for these kids. That's really amazing," commented Hendrickson.
Now these brothers of the gridiron are left with only one more game. And one more chance to go out on top.
"It would be great to finish here, leaving a legacy of beating the Cats. It would mean a lot," Walden said.
The Grizzlies can also finish their career 3-1 against the Bobcats with a win. A sold-out, and perhaps record crowd at Washington-Grizzly Stadium will watch the 112th clash of Montana and Montana State at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon.