CUT BANK — The coronavirus has the made the fall 2020 season a season of adjustments in high school athletics, but for the new high school quarterback in Cut Bank, it’s just one of a few new things to get used to.
Forget face masks and social distancing. Sophomore signal caller Caleb deManigold has been spending the season getting accustomed to American football. DeManigold’s father runs a bison ranch near Babb, so he had previously gone to school and played football north of the border in Cardston, Alberta, Canada.
"It's a little different. You got 12 men, and you got three downs. And then the football field is longer," deManigold said. "That was like the main big one. And then you got little rules and stuff."
But when the border closed last spring, deManigold had to look elsewhere and decided on Cut Bank just a few days before the season started. He loves that football is more in the spotlight in the United States and wants to take advantage.
"You get looked at more (in the States)," he said. "In Canada, it's very difficult to get people, like colleges, to look at you up there. So I just came down here, easier for me."
DeManigold’s father, Marc, was a freshman defensive tackle on the 1988 national champion Notre Dame squad. Football is part of his fiber, and the Wolves are sure glad the younger deManigold is here.
"He's a kid that you can tell he loves the game, goes home and watches it, watches the NFL, watches college, so he knew what he's doing," said Cut Bank coach Dylan Johnston. "Did take a little bit, I think, for him to pick up that one less guy on the field. But he's done an awesome job."
It hasn’t been a banner year for the Wolves, who sit at 0-6 on the season. But for a team that knew it had some holes to fill and didn’t fill them until the last minute, there’s a lot to look forward to, according to junior tight end Dayne Barbie.
"This offseason is going to be a really really big one," Barbie said. "Now that we have a certified quarterback we can come here in the mornings after we're done lifting and just start throwing the ball around, getting chemistry better, and just everything like that. It's super exciting to think about. I can't wait."
At this point, deManigold feels that his future is here in Cut Bank, so the border closure might be a blessing for both him and the Wolves program.