BILLINGS – In two-and-a-half years, Jason Petrino has taken Rocky Mountain College from also-ran to Frontier Conference favorite.
“A lot of work went into it up until now,” said Petrino, who took over the program before the 2016 season. “Our last two years built a strong foundation, and I’m just excited that they get a chance to experience some of the success.”
The Battlin’ Bears have won five in a row and avenged their only on-field loss Saturday by scoring 43 unanswered points in a 43-14 win over Montana Western.
“We came out hot right away,” said wide receiver Max Gray. “Last game we played them, we didn’t score in the first half, so we really wanted to be explosive.”
The Rocky offense is averaging more than 42 points per game during the winning streak, but the defense was just as impressive Saturday, holding Western quarterback Jon Jund to just 65 passing yards.
“The quarterback really hurt us the last time we played them,” said Petrino. “He got away out of the pocket, kept some plays alive, and was able to connect on some shots.”
“Anytime he gets out of the pocket, he makes things happen,” added defensive end Ryder Rice. “So this week, we just focused on staying in passing lanes, getting a good pass rush where you can, and made it happen.”
But as is life in the Frontier, the Bears have to make it happen again next Saturday at Eastern Oregon in another battle for first.
“It’s a team we haven’t seen a lot on film, even in our crossover games,” said Petrino of the Mountaineers. “It’s going to take a lot of long hours on Sunday and Monday to get ready for them.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. MDT in La Grande, Ore. Rocky and Western are tied atop the conference at 6-2, while Eastern Oregon is one game back at 5-3. They are the only three who could still win the conference.