BILLINGS — It might sound like a broken record, but the Billings Central football team looks pretty darn impressive.
Big-name guys seemingly come and go left and right, but the engine keeps churning as the Rams are off to a 5-0 start.
“They have high expectations of themselves. A lot of times they have to wait in line because they have a lot of good players in front of them," longtime Central head coach Jim Stanton told MTN Sports. "Our assistant coaches do a great job working with them over the summer, inspiring them, motivating them. I think they just want to be a part of this program and they're a joy to be around because they'll do just about anything you ask in a positive way."
Some of the credit must be given to senior quarterback Adam Balkenbush, a three-year starter. A pair of all-state tailbacks — Clay Oven and Kade Boyd — moved on to play collegiately for the Montana Grizzlies, leaving Balkenbush with a bit more to shoulder.
“Every week not having those guys it changes a lot. There's a lot more on me," Balkenbush said. "You get to know (the opponent) a lot just watching all the film of their defenses. It helps a lot studying them every week at practice."
“His leadership and experience has been really instrumental helping guide us and getting us into the right situation. We're playing him on defense, too, and he's doing a great job there. We're getting a lot of miles out of him and it's allowed some of our younger kids to develop in the process," Stanton said.
Things have seemingly worked to plan so far for the Rams, as they’re unbeaten ahead of a huge showdown with Lewistown next weekend. Stanton has done a great job keeping his guys focused on what’s in front of them and avoiding trap games.
“We have certain goals that we set each and every day and we push to achieve those goals and master those goals," Stanton said. "It's no different than when we play whatever team we're playing. We just want our kids to be excited about preparation, do a good job with their preparation then go out there and have some fun."
The biggest test of the year looms ahead for Balkenbush and the Rams as they eye a return to Eastern A supremacy.