GREAT FALLS — Enrollment and participation is cyclical for small school football teams - some years, you’re title contenders, some years it’s tough even a field a team each week. The Great Falls Central Mustangs have experienced the full spectrum over the past few years, but in year two under head coach Wes Ross, they’re ready to build a winner.
The 2020 season was full of adversity of the Mustangs. They had a new coach, had a team full of players who’d never participated in organized football and dealt with COVID-19 issues that led to canceled games and practices.
“We knew it was going to be a rebuilding year,” Ross said. “We only had two seniors and the previous year I think they had a dozen. It was tough, and there were a lot of players who’d never played football before so that was an uphill battle, period.”
The Mustangs finished the year with an 0-4 record, but the players didn’t get discouraged and came to work every day hungry for more. That attitude carried over to the offseason and into the start of fall camp.
It’s been said that things start to click in the second year under a new head coach once everyone is familiar with the program, the vernacular, and have built chemistry, So far, that’s been the case with the 2021 Mustangs.
“We got a lot more experience, almost every person on our team is coming back,” said senior lineman Nathan Anderson. “We expect to do great things this year. Our two captains that graduated last year, they really pushed me to love football and so did our coaches.”
The obstacles that the team faced built character, they built camaraderie, and they helped build a team that both players and coaches can be proud of. The Mustangs plan to take care of business at practice, and hope the on field product takes care of itself.
“So our model this year is no excuses. We had every hurdle thrown at us, every obstacle, every doubter last year and rightfully so,” said coach Ross. “But we've kind of decided that it’s no excuses this year. We're going to get after it and we're going to let the chips fall where they may and control what we can.”
Great Falls Central opens the season on the road against Twin Bridges on Aug. 27.