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Class B All-Stars: Football or Esports?

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 20:17:03-04

BILLINGS – As June’s all-star barrage continues across Montana this weekend, Class B football guys will have the only show in Billings on Saturday.

Coaches reported on Tuesday while players funneled in on Wednesday opening two-a-day workouts at Rocky Mountain College. Big Timber’s J.V. Moody is in charge of the South, which won last year’s game 25-12. Pat Duchien of Florence is head coach of this year’s North team. Rosters will be released later this week.

Linemen for Class B’s North All-Stars run through a drill during Wednesday’s opening practice at Rocky Mountain College. Saturday’s game against the South is Saturday at 1 p.m. (SCOTT BREEN/MTN Sports)

Between Wednesday and Saturday’s kickoff teams are actually jamming in nine practices. With temps expected in the mid-90s Thursday in Billings, do any of these all-stars wish they’d have bailed on football for, maybe… an E-sports scholarship?

“I don’t like video games and there’s no work in that,” said Colstrip linebacker Cody Blaede. “I mean, you’re just sitting there. I like to work, I like to struggle.”

Florence linebacker Spencer Jones and Fairfield quarterback Ryder Meyer agree.

“I have fun being outside more, I guess,” Jones said. “It’s only fun when you’re playing Madden with your buddies.”

“I like the outdoors more,” Meyer said. “I like being outdoors with my friends and going fishing or something. So, I don’t know if I’d have paid more attention to video games if I had that opportunity.”

A few hundred schools across the nation offer Esports scholarships, from Duke to Oklahoma, Montana to Montana State and the University of Providence in Great Falls. Those who play well enough get school paid for, or at least partially paid.

Baker defensive back Trevor Lingle was aware of Esports scholarships, but didn’t realize they bigger universities were offering.

“I’ve played them but I wouldn’t say I enjoy them too much,” Lingle said. “I knew Dickenson had one (Esports program). I got a recruiting video from them. Other than that, I didn’t know the bigger colleges were starting to get them.”

As for the Class B All-Star series itself, it’s game one. After 30 years, the North and South are dead even at 15 wins apiece after the South’s win last June.

Gates at Herb Klindt Field open at noon on Saturday. Player introductions are set for 12:40 with kickoff at 1 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students.