GREAT FALLS — As preseason football ramps up at the high school level, the Great Falls Central Catholic 6-Man football program is playing catch-up but that’s not stopping them from keeping an optimistic outlook on their season.
The paperwork was all ready to file for a co-op with Highwood in order to have a football season, but at the last minute, the roster started to fill up.
“We went through the summer basically with three or four guys wondering if we were going to have a team to even field and for whatever reason, we got some guys confident in what's going on out here,” head coach Conrad Duffy explained. “We're pessimistically optimistic.”
The Mustangs will have a tall task despite filling their roster just in time for the season. Most of them are just learning how to play 6-Man for the first time.
“It's a completely different game,” senior transfer Trayden Tait said. “It's so much faster than 8- or 11-man. You're just really flying around the field way more than any other version of football.”
Part of their roster is made up of the Mustangs basketball team. What made it appealing for players like senior Max Leray was the fact that they get to tackle and hit people.
“I've played basketball every year and coach Duffy said it was basically basketball on grass,” Leray explained. “[I] get to run around a little bit and hit people. Not too much of that in basketball.”
It’s also been a learning curve for the first year head coach who’s had experience coaching football, but just not at this level. With stints at Cascade and assisting with GFCC and Great Falls High in the past, Duffy is learning the ins and outs of the game through film on some of the best 6-Man players to come out of the state in the last few years.
“Our guys have watched a lot of the 2018, 2019 Class C 6-Man all-star games,” Duffy explained. “ You kind of get a feel of what that game is going to look like when they step on the field and for myself as well.”
From three kids a few weeks ago to almost a full roster intact, everyone is still getting to know each other but the buy-in is there. The Mustangs open up their 2022 season against North Star on Sept. 3 as the players are starting to get excited for their first showcase as a team.
“I'm just excited to get out there and hit some people and run the ball into the end zone,” Tait said. “I just want to get out there and see the hard work pay off.”