BILLINGS – Casey Cole thought the Montana East-West Shrine game would be his football career’s last hurrah. Turns out, it was just the beginning.
The reason he decided to come back?
“For the love of the game, really,” Cole said. “I just had too much passion for football not to continue as long as I can.”
Cole went to the University of Montana on a javelin scholarship out of high school, but the former Laurel Locomotive couldn’t shake football. Maybe it’s because he didn’t want his career to end the way it did.
“I ending up breaking my leg and tearing a bunch of ligaments in my ankle,” he recalled. “I don’t know the exact date, but it happened like the third football game in my senior year.”
Laurel lost its quarterback, and Cole figured he lost his chance at the next level. That was 18 months ago.
But then the Shrine Game came calling, where coaches lined him up as a wide receiver and something clicked for the natural athlete.
Cole went to Missoula, but after one semester came back home to Rocky Mountain College, where he’s impressing as – you guessed it – a receiver.
“It was kind of hard at the beginning, just foot work, a lot more technicality stuff in college, have to be more sharp than I was in high school, but it’s definitely growing on me,” Cole said.
Head coach Jason Petrino singled out Cole as one freshman who keeps catching the coach’s eye.
“It’s been really kind of relieving knowing I can actually get back on the field and play again,” Cole said. “First couple practices were kind of rough after taking almost a year off after the injury, but getting back on the field again has just been a spark lifted up to my life, playing football again.”
Cole has found his true love once again, and he’s not letting go this time.