For the first time in three years, the Rocky Mountain College football team was able to play spring ball. The period between spring break and summer break is a crucial time for the athlete’s development, especially for the younger players. On April 8, the team got together on the football field for a scrimmage, defense against offense. Students, faculty, and other members of the community came to support their team and see how they are preparing for the next season.
Reflecting back on the past Fall 2021 season, head coach Chris Stutzriem said, “I was really happy with the steps forward that we took to continue to build this program the right way.” He emphasizes that the win during the at-home opening game was the best way to kick the season off. One of the biggest things that stood out to Stutzriem about the past season was the acknowledgment and accolades many players received throughout the season (via “players of the week”) and how the team grew together.
During the regular season, Rocky fell only to Montana Tech, and as the Battlin’ Bears move into this upcoming 2022 season, Stutzriem says that since “everyone hates us in this state,” the team has a bunch of rivals, including Carroll and Tech, and the Bears have a score to settle after being kicked out of the playoffs by Montana Western.
In order to overcome these losses, the team has found ways to enhance their practice and training through more player-led activities and a new app called “Team Buildr,” which allows the athletes to see their workouts and modify the lifts if they are injured or don’t have the proper equipment. Along with this app and training, Stutzriem says that the best way to overcome the past season’s setbacks is to “stick to our culture: hard work and playing Rocky Football.”
So far, Stutzriem has recruited 50 new players who will be joining the team in the fall, and he is excited for every single one of them. The freshmen will arrive on campus on July 31 where they will hit the ground running and begin training with the team. The coaching staff will “[build] them the ‘Rocky Way,’ through character, accountability, relentlessness, and discipline.”
There are also many familiar names returning to the roster, including the quarterback, Nathan Dick, along with the whole starting offensive line. Wes Moeai is returning for his senior season as a defensive lineman. Nolan McCafferty, Prince Johnson, and Kyle Frazier return in the linebacker positions. Ty Reynolds, Brail Lipford, and Kaysan Barnet come back as the defensive secondary.
As he looks toward next season, Stutzriem comments on his love for this team and “their hard work and dedication to making Rocky better on and off the field.” Everything the coaching staff does for the team allows them to continue to be the best men they can be on and off the field, and Stutzriem is looking forward to another season as the Battlin’ Bears continue to grow and make the past, present, and future Bears proud of their football team.