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The Geyser

Change is in the air for Park High Football

Margo Munson
Coach Nick Coate

This year, Park High football will be a little bit different. Unlike previous seasons, the Ranger football team will not play a structured conference schedule against their usual local opponents, but instead they will operate on an independent schedule where they will face a wide range of opponents ranging from class B school Big Timber to class AA school Missoula Hellgate. 

According to Park High School activities director Nate Parseghian, an independent schedule was in the best interest of Park High football. “I wouldn’t say it’s a matter of talent as much as it is a matter of the number of players.” Parseghian said. “The team that has the most has 88 players, the average is probably 60-65, and we have 27.” 

The Rangers would have been playing in a notoriously difficult Eastern Conference against teams like Billings Central, Laurel, Lewistown, and Miles City, all of whom have at least one state championship appearance or win over the past few years. Parseghian described it as a “daunting” schedule. “With the opponents that we have now, it’s a much better matchup for both teams.”

Senior Guard and Linebacker Ryan Bauer said that he wasn’t initially looking forward to the altered schedule, but now he understands why they’re doing it and agrees that Park High Football needs to get their numbers up. “I think we can get a lot out of this,” Bauer added.

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Another interesting feature in the Ranger football schedule this year is a matchup against Butte Central at Bobcat stadium in Bozeman on October 6th. According to Parseghian, due to the independent schedule, there wasn’t a need to designate a home team because there wasn’t another confirmed game against Butte Central in the future. As a result, the teams wouldn’t have to take turns traveling to each other’s stadium. The game had to take place on October 6th due to an opening in Butte’s schedule, and that ended up working out perfectly. “We looked at MSU’s football schedule, and by chance, that is the same week they have a bye,” Parseghian mentioned. Thanks to a great relationship with the athletics department over at MSU, the game was able to take place.

From a change in opponents to a game at a full-sized stadium there are plenty of reasons to be cheering on Ranger football this fall, and hopefully this season can be a precursor to future success.

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