Dawgs riding high into Rocky showdown

A 41-9 loss on the road last week won’t do anything to slow down the momentum of the Montana Western football team.

The Bulldogs take on Rocky Mountain College in a 1 p.m. showdown at Vigilante Field.

Western is 1-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Frontier Conference after last week’s game against high-powered Eastern Washington of the Big sky Conference.

Western second-year head coach B.J. Robertson said that last week’s performance has his team fired up heading into Saturday.

“It was a great experience,” Robertson said. “Our guys went out and played four quarters. That’s what we’re looking to do in this program. They showed that they can play at a little bit higher level, so the guys can build on that.”

The Bulldogs put up more than a respectable performance against the Eagles, who beat Sam Houston State 56-35 the week before.

Senior quarterback Tyler Hulse passed for 143 yards and a touchdown in the loss. He Hooked up with George Sherwood for the score. Hulse also scrambled for 52 yards.

Defensively, the Bulldogs played against a unit that kept starting quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. in most of the game. Robertson nominated Joe Coker for Frontier Defensive Player of the Week honors for his team-leading performance.

Most importantly, the Bulldogs came away from the “money game” relatively injury free as they ready for the long haul of the Frontier season.

In Rocky, the Bulldogs are facing a team that Robertson is very familiar with. Robertson coached as an assistant at Rocky from 2007 until July of last year, when he returned to take over at his alma mater.

The coach knows his former team well enough to know that his new team will have its hands full.

“They have a four-year starting quarterback in Bryce Baker,” Robertson said. “He does a great job. They have a great timing passing game. It’s tough to get pressure on him. They have one of the best receive corps in the league.”

The Battlin’ Bears are coming off a 40-21 win over Dickinson State. Baker passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs. He hit Cole Cattelan seven times for 155 yards. Andre McCullouch caught five passes for 104 yards.

Jade Olson and Frank Brown lead a powerful Rocky ground attack.

“They lost a few offensive linemen, so hopefully they’re not gelling just yet,” Robertson said.

The Western coach also praised the Rocky defense, pointing to an experienced secondary and a deep and talented defensive line.

Bottom line, the Bulldogs will need a performance reminiscent of their Aug. 23 win over Montana Tech in Dillon.

“We’re still trying to find out where we stand,” Robertson said. “We definitely got off to a good start.”

The Bulldogs hit the road next week to take on the College of Idaho.

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