The MSU-Northern Lights run spring drills on Friday in Havre. (TOM WYLIE/MTN Sports)

HAVRE — The MSU-Northern football team took the field for third time this spring on Friday afternoon with big shoes to fill.

Gone are all-Frontier performers Zach McKinley (running back), Tyler Craig (defensive line) and Pete Morales (offensive line), along with several other cornerstone seniors like Jordan Brusio and Patrick Barnett on the defensive line.

With no heir apparent at many of those key positions, third-year head coach Aaron Christensen says there will be a lot of competition during the spring and the start of fall camp.

“Those guys are tough to replace and they’re good football players, and I think that’s one of the reasons there’s so much competition,” Christensen said. “It’s kind of trying to find those guys who are going to be able to step up and try to do the things that those guys were able to do.”

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The Lights finished 1-9 in 2016, with their sole win coming against Carroll College, which was ranked at the time. In Christensen’s two years, the Lights are 1-20, so it’s time to take the next step.

“We got to play better,” Christensen said. “We have to win more games; that’s what it comes down to. Yeah, we improved last year and even in spring football right now, and I think we’re improved from last season. So it’s just continued improvement. And if you keep doing that, the wins will come.”

Senior tight end Kagen Khameneh and linebacker Garet Fowler were named captains and will be relied upon to help bring along their young teammates. MSU-Northern will practice every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next month with the Lights’ spring game set for Saturday, April 22 at 1 p.m. in Havre.

Aaron Christensen his third year as head coach at MSU-Northern. (TOM WYLIE/MTN Sports)