BILLINGS — Over the last few years, football — even at the high school level — has gotten much more complicated, especially on offense. It’s a world when speed often kills, but sometimes it still just pays to be really, really big.
That's why Billings West is relying on left tackle Jacob Anderson this year.
"He’s like 8 feet tall," said teammate Christopher Garcia. "How could you not?”
Hyperbole aside, it’s almost impossible to miss the 6 foot, 6 inch Anderson. He towers over almost everyone else on the field, and not just physically.
"I think just by his presence alone, he’s a leader," said West head coach Rob Stanton. "He's very encouraging, he's a good kid, a very good student, so he’s somebody I’d look up to."
No pun intended. Anderson is on the short list of Billings players to sign with a major college program — he chose Oregon State over Utah this summer — and to be honest, he’s glad the process is over.
"It was busy," Anderson said. "It's not really something I enjoyed. A lot of talking, a lot of always being bothered."
But he did love the idea of how far he’s come.
"I wasn’t expecting it at all," he said. "I never thought I’d have that opportunity."
"I’m super happy for him," Garcia added. "We've gone to school since kindergarten together, so that’s crazy that he’s doing that."
For now, Anderson and the Bears are focused on one final ride, and they might run it behind Anderson a little more with a brand new starting quarterback in Drew McDowell.
"I like to run it every play," joked Stanton. "Our offensive coordinator will disagree with me."
"I would love to run the ball every time," Anderson was quick to agree with, "But Drew is a phenomenal quarterback with a big arm and he’s smart, so I think we’ll be fine either way."
With Anderson around, things usually are.
"I mean, look at him," Garcia said. "He works hard, he’s huge. What more could you ask for?”
Anderson and the Bears will be tested early, as they open with two-time defending champion Missoula Sentinel Friday at 7 p.m. Sentinel has beaten West three straight times, including in each of those last two championship games.