GREAT FALLS — At long last, it’s finally game week for the Great Falls CMR Rustlers, and that's welcome news for a football team that’s had a lot to get used to, even with two extra weeks to practice.
"We've just been beating each other up for like, it seems months now," junior Raef Newbrough said. "So it's good to finally hit somebody else. And you know, beat somebody else."
Newbrough will be starting at quarterback for the Rustlers on Friday against Belgrade. While he’s glad it’s finally game time, there’s no doubt the extra practice time has helped as the team gets used to a new system under coach Dennis Morris.
"We have to build chemistry with each other and trust each other, that we're going to be there and do our job," Newbrough said. "We have a new offense, which everybody is bought into. So we should be able to move the ball. And it's quick and it's fast, so we should be able to tire the defense."
As the new offense looks to start hot, Morris believes the biggest key to starting 1-0 will be on the other side of the ball.
"I just believe it's in the defensive line. We have the most returning starters right there," he said. "Those guys are mean and they're nasty and they didn't have to learn quite as much with a new system on defense there too. So they've had a lot of time to just hone in and really refine what they're doing there."
On a personal level, Morris would love to start his tenure as head coach of his alma mater with a win, but he said the bigger goal is to live up to the tradition of the Rustler program, something this team has bought into.
"We're learning everything brand new too. Every day coming out to practice is just fun because you can see the improvement from last night, and the kids are doing a phenomenal job watching their film after practice and getting their corrections from their coaches and actually making those corrections," Morris said.
CMR hosts Belgrade at Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday.