Winter: Loving those Friday night lights

Abe Winter
Star Columnist

There’s nothing quite like Friday night football.

Unless, of course, it rains. Football, unfortunately, is played in the rain and muck. It’s dreadful.

But, when considering our drought of the past 100 months (just kidding, I’ve only been here four months), nobody would be upset if we got a downpour at any time.

Anyway, let’s assume that the Friday nights provide good weather, even if we have to put on a jacket when the Custer County District High School Cowboys take on whomever.

One of the first things new activities director Dominick Vergara said when hired was that he wanted to see the stands full on Fridays. So, Cowboys fans, will you be there?

The 2017 season starts with a game Friday at 7 p.m. at Connors Stadium against Billings Central, which is considered the top rival by CCDHS coach Jeff Regan.

You may recall the last football game at Connors Stadium. My friends in North Dakota certainly want to forget the 65-0 pasting administered by the Montana All-Stars in the 24th annual Badlands Bowl.

I’m not thinking that will happen on Friday.

Hope to see you there.

Meanwhile, don’t be surprised if Vergara helps the fans show some enthusiasm, one of the most important words in his vocabulary.

“Enthusiasm and team; when those two come together, that’s when success occurs,” he said. “And you’re going to win the right way.”

He hopes, for instance, that a substitute on the bench knows he has a role on the team. When an outstanding play is made by a teammate, he’d like to see that sub cheering. Likewise for the fans to get involved.

“Those are little signs that this is a team; same thing in the stands,” Vergara said.

Same thing for all sports. Team, team, team!

“I’ve been communicating with the coaches most days,” he said last week. “I hit all our programs and made sure everything was going great.”



As stated here before, Dickinson State University could soon be considered Miles City East for many Custer County District High School athletes.

For instance, brothers JT and Brett Keith are coaching (JT) and playing (Brett) for the Blue Hawks this season.

JT, who played on a state championship team at CCDHS (2008), graduated in 2009 and then played four years at DSU, earning all-conference honorable mention his senior year. He works in Dickinson and is in third season coaching wide receivers for coach Pete Stanton, the brother of the late Dan Stanton, who coached JT to the state title in Miles City. Dan died in 2015.

Brett is a 2015 CCDHS graduate who earned 12 letters — four years in three sports: football, basketball and track. He redshirted and now is a sophomore on the DSU team.

Returning to the DSU roster is Drew Senger, listed at 6-5, 275. The offensive lineman is listed as a freshman. His brother Jaden Senger is no longer on the roster. Jaden joins other CCDHS grads Isaac Maisel and Morgan Bishop who have eligibility remaining but no longer are on the roster.

Two Miles City freshmen, both of whom will be redshirted, are wide receivers Caleb Petross and Tyler Burk.

The Blue Hawks open their season at 6 p.m. today at home against Rocky Mountain College of Billings.

There are two CCDHS graduates on the DSU women’s volleyball team — 5-9 senior Shaylee Singleton, an outside hitter/defensive specialist, and freshman Jenna Swope.

The volleyball team has had two scrimmages and opens the regular season with four matches Friday and Saturday in Butte.



— While selling fund-raising Cowboy Cards last week, CCDHS sophomore nose guard Mason Lovec — 5-11, 200 — met a reporter anxious to purchase one of the $20 bargain cards.

After the reporter made the payment, the football player was asked about this year’s Cowboys.

“We’ll be pretty good,” Lovec said. “We lost a lot, but we gained a lot.”

— Do you suppose you could run a 5K (3.1 miles) race every week? Heck, I doubt I could walk one every week.

Yet that’s how far the runners — both boys and girls — on the CCDHS cross-country teams travel in each of their meets.

Their lone home invitational is Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Miles City Town and Country Club.

Their sport doesn’t include smashing tackles or volleyball kills, but these competitors definitely are athletes.

— It’s no small chore to get a field ready for a football game. Mowing, lining and installing logos at midfield and in both end zones — the latter being done before each home game — are among the jobs and all are time-consuming.

The logos were installed Wednesday night, thanks in no small part to a number of volunteers from the CCDHS Booster Club.

You should be thankful on Friday, although I’m sure the most important part would be victory on game night.

(Contact Abe Winter at or 406-234-0450.)