COLSTRIP -- Football has always run in the blood of Colstrip’s Yates family. Father Stacey has been involved in the game since he was a kid, and he quickly handed that passion off to his kids.
“We were in the backyard, head-to-head, they’d lay down, we’d put the bags out, have them get up, just do some stupid little drills like that, but they loved it and they wanted to do it," Stacey said. "They’d ask me to come out, blow the whistle and stuff and get them going and stuff, so that was a lot of fun. … We go fishing together and we do a lot of other things together, but we’re always on the same page when it comes to football. It’s kind of natural for us.”
Oldest brother Tanner went to Minot State and middle brother Tucker played for Montana State. Youngest brother Trey is set to Join the Bobcats in the fall of 2020, but he wasn’t always sure football was for him.
“I’d always see Tanner and Tucker back there with Dad doing the head-to-head laying on the ground, and I always thought, ‘Wow, that looks miserable.’ It wasn’t until sixth grade when I was like, ‘Oh, I kind of like this stuff,'” Trey said.
That changed when Trey began to physically mature. He developed a competitive edge from constantly battling his older brothers. Trey’s relentless work ethic is something he picked up from his siblings, too.
“Me and my brothers are very competitive with each other. Up in the wrestling room, we go pretty hard," said Trey. "Even on the basketball court, we’re not basketball players at all, but me and Tucker, we get each other in the post and we’re lowering our shoulders into each other. Everything we do we compete.”
“He knows how to work," Stacey said of Tucker. "That kid would be up here at 8 o’clock at night in this room, in this weight room lifting. He got that work ethic in here. Trey’s got it, too, he’s up here all the time trying to better himself. … Those kids would get out there and get after it. Trey, they were harder than heck on him. They would really torture him a little bit out there.”
Those competitive evenings paid off for Tucker in the fall when he made the game-saving tackle on the goal line in Missoula to preserve Montana State’s rivalry win last November – a moment that holds a special place in the Yates household.
“It’s a great play. Two-and-a-half-yard line, game on the line, they call the timeout, they come back out and run it again. He made the play. It was huge. Just a huge play. Most pride I’ve ever felt on the football field, for sure," Stacey said.
“I was going nuts at the time," Trey said. "Really every time he makes a play like that, I just start screaming. It’s just that kind of football mentality, like when your buddy makes a play, you get in his face, you smack him on the helmet.”
Trey’s blue-collar approach will fit in perfectly in Bozeman next fall, as he sees similar traits between MSU coach Jeff Choate and his dad's program in Colstrip. Tucker left quite the legacy in Bozeman for Trey to build upon, but he’s set his sights high.
“I’m going to try to win a championship with the Bobcats. It’s a team effort, but I really want to be one of the guys that helps do that," Trey said.