LEWISTOWN — It doesn't sound like the easiest adjustment in the world going from six man to 11-man football, but for players making that adjustment, football is football and they're just happy to play.
Brady and Jace Bantz are in the process of that right now, having had to throw out a lot of what they know about football and play an entirely different game, with nearly double the players on the field at once. Jace Dunkel, Trey Jassack, and Joe Delaney are also members of the Fergus team making the travel from Winnett/Grass Range.
They’re used to travel but now are much closer to home, having had to go as far as Denton for practice last year when Winnett Grass Range teamed up with Denton Geyser Stanford. The drive time is reduced with several WGR kids coming to Lewistown, where the Fergus Golden Eagles are off to a red-hot start, sitting atop Class A football with a perfect 3-0 record.
Head coach Derek Lear is only in year two of having the reins, but the addition of a handful of Class C players has given them a new definition of team identity.
“They all said it's definitely different, you know, obviously playing under the lights and bigger crowd, bigger field and different things like that. But they've adjusted well. Our kids have taken them in like they're they've been on our team forever and it's been a good transition.”
Fergus has taken on a six-man player before but now, there’s more former 6-man players playing together in Class A. The fact that they're playing is helping them thrive on the bigger gridiron.
“I was thinking it's going to be fun, but it's also going to be a pretty big jump from six man to 11 man,” Brady said. “Luckily, we have great coaching staff and great teammates to help us get into the flow of things, getting more comfortable. It's getting a lot easier to, you know, jump into a spot and actually know what I'm doing.”
Brady made quick impressions throwing for a touchdown in week one, securing an interception in their last game, showing that all it takes is an opportunity. An opportunity. They're making the most of. For Jace, he’s been looking forward to 11 man is pleased with their first few weeks, having found success and another chance to play a game he loves.
“I've been looking forward to it for a while,” Jace said. “Definitely a lot more to remember the defense, more complex. There's a lot of guys that will help you out if you don't know what you're doing. Nice for an opportunity to finally play 11 man.”
Their next opportunity will be a road trip for week four at Laurel.
“Very glad we get this opportunity to just be able to play football.”
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