Bleskin paces Cats in spring finale

GREAT FALLS — It was quite a weekend for Tanner Bleskin in his hometown.

On Friday night, the Montana State senior was named one of the team’s four 2013 captains after a vote of his teammates. And on Saturday, the Bobcat receiver and former CM Russell High School star who played his high school home games at Memorial Stadium, caught six passes for 109 yards for one of the day’s outstanding individual efforts in MSU’s spring finale, the Triangle Classic scrimmage.

“Tanner was very good today, and it was pretty balanced, with a lot of good plays on both sides,” said Bobcat coach Rob Ash. “The (first) offense took another step forward, but the defense kept them out of the end zone until the final drive. I saw a lot of good things today.”

In a scrimmage that featured ones-on-ones and twos-on-twos, MSU’s first offense marched the ball to the opposing 35-yard line on its first drive, with Cody Kirk – like Tanner Bleskin, defensive end Brad Daly and linebacker Na’a Moeakiola a newly-minted captain – ripping off a 20-yard run on the drive. It stalled there, however, when Moeakiola broke up a DeNarius McGhee pass on fourth down.

Neither side threatened again until Dakota Prukop led the second offense on a 90-yard scoring drive, aided by a defensive personal foul. Prukop’s 55-yard run kick-started the drive – he and Mitch Griebel were each live in terms of tackling, while McGhee and Bleskin wore red jerseys signifying no contact – and he finished it with a 20-yard pass to Chris Houden. Great Falls High grad Trevor Bolton added the PAT.

Jake Bleskin led the first offense on a long march in his former high school stadium as well, moving the ones to the 20-yard line going in on a drive that resulted in a 33-yard Rory Perez field goal. Bleskin completed six passes on the drive, including one to his brother Tanner.

Each of MSU’s quarterbacks posted solid numbers. Senior McGhee, the team’s returning starter, while Bleskin finished 6-for-9 for 60 yards. Prukop completed four of his six passes for 45 yards, and also rushed five times for 74 yards. Mitch Griebel carried four times for 10 yards, and was 2-for-5 passing for 17 yards. Bobby Crane completed his only pass for seven yards.

On a day in which several starters on both sides of the ball – including Kirk and Daly – saw only limited action, the Bobcats’ ground game never really got going. Several defensive players made big plays, including Nate Bignell (two sacks, two other tackles-for-loss) and Alex Singleton, one sack, one other tackle-for-loss). The Triangle Classic

Scoring Summary – Ones vs. Twos
Twos — Chris Houden 20 pass from Dakota Prukop (Trevor Bolton kick)
Ones — FG Rory Perez 33
Twos — Mitch Griebel 23 run (Trevor Bolton kick)
Ones — Cody Dopps 2 run (Rory Perez kick)
Individual Statistics
RUSHING — Cody Kirk 4-18, Chad Newell 4-7, Shawn Johnson 7-24, Morris Mouton 2-14, Cody Dopps 5-9, Dakota Prukop 5-75, Mitch Griebel 4-10, Jon Ellis 1-(-1).
PASSING — DeNarius McGhee 12-19-0–167, Jake Bleskin 6-9-0–60, Dakota Prukop 4-6-0–45, Mitch Griebel 2-5-0–17, Bobby Crane 1-1-0–7.
RECEIVING — Jon Ellis 4-41, Tanner Bleskin 6-109, Kurt Davis 2-15, Austin Barth 2-15, Chris Houden 1-20, Will Krolick 2-18, Shadeed Crockett 2-7, Shawn Johnson 2-33, Tiai Salanoa 3-23, Manny Kalfell 1-15.
QB SACKS — Nate Bignell 2, Luke Halliburton 1, Hayden Vick 1, Alex Singleton 1, Preston Gale 1.
TACKLES FOR LOSS — Nate Bignell 2-6 yards, Alex Singleton 1-2, Hayden Vick 1-5, Taylor Dees 1-1, Eryon Barnett 1-4, Preston Gale 1-8,  Connor Verlanic 1-1, Luke Halliburton 1-16.
PASS BREAKUPS — Eryon Barnett 1, Na’a Moeakiola 1, Cole Moore 1, Brad Nordahl 1, Fe’ao Vunipola 1.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES — Fletcher Collins 1.

— MSU Sports Information