GREAT FALLS — Friday was the first day of high school football practice in Montana, and, though things look and feel different due to COVID-19, the Great Falls Central Mustangs are just excited to be back on the field.
"Very grateful. It's an opportunity not only to play football, but to grow with some of our teammates and some new people in the school. So I'm glad to be out here and have that opportunity," said senior lineman Preston Nitschke-Love. "Completely new coaching staff. So it's pretty hard on some of the kids, especially seniors, because we've had the same coaching staff for three years and now we have to adjust to new schemes and all that, but our kids are pretty positive with everything."
That new coaching staff is anchored by Wes Ross, who was an assistant at Great Falls High last year. It’s the first head coaching gig for Ross, and he considers himself fortunate, despite the strange conditions.
"It's been a whirlwind, but I just continue to count my blessings, how fortunate we are. Every day something else changes," Ross said. "And one thing I'm very proud of this team about is they've been very resilient, flexible, coachable. No matter what's asked of us, we step up."
That flexibility and coachability will be key in a year full of unknowns as the Mustangs try to make it back to the 8-Man playoffs. So far, Central’s schedule is on as originally planned, starting with a home date with Twin Bridges at Memorial Stadium on Aug. 29.