BILLINGS -- As Rocky Mountain College hits the road for Saturday's Frontier Conference football game at College of Idaho, at least a pair of Bears are turning disappointment into determination.
(Editor's note: This report was originally published on March 19. In the Battlin' Bears' game at College of Idaho, the Yotes scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to earn a 10-3 win.)
Linebacker Dallas Mack and quarterback Drew Korf are among some college football players nationwide living the best of both worlds right now.
"If I could write a storybook ending, this is perfect because I get to do what I love and get to work as well," Korf told MTN Sports before a recent practice.
Mack's perspective is slightly altered.
"I'm actually just chilling for now," Mack said. "I'm done with classes because I graduated, so now I'm just waiting for everything to get done to get a full-time job."
Bottom line for both: They get to play football, hang out and not have to worry about classes.
Mack and Korf are a couple guys enjoying the rare benefit of a COVID-19 world that delivered mostly heartache to college seniors. The NAIA and NCAA are allowing athletes an extra year of eligibility to replace what was stolen by the pandemic.
"I told some of the guys I should've been done five months ago if it would've been the regular schedule, so I feel blessed that I get to come out here every day and be around the guys," Korf said.
"They could come back in the fall, technically, but they're not going to," Bears head coach Chris Stutzriem said. "I think they're ready to start their lives and that's OK. We've got a few more that are doing that, a couple offensive linemen and another linebacker."
For Mack, it's been more than a one-year wait. His was closer to two after grinding back from injury.
"When I tore my ACL, my main goal was just to get back on the field and I feel like that's just what I've been working for," he said. "Hopefully it all pays off."
Mack, a Huntley Project product, isn't sure what his next move is after football this spring, but he has a degree in exercise science and a minor in coaching.
"I think Dallas doesn't want to tell me but he's kind of using this as a football thing," Stutzriem said with a grin. "He's working little odds and ends.
"But Drew is actually working for a marketing company out of Red Lodge. He's going from there and checking the stock market every 15 minutes."
Korf, a Boise native, is approaching his final days in uniform with a sense of ease and humor.
"I'm just a couple months away from having to be a washed-up football player," he said.