Mission High School football coach Tyler Murray knows building a successful football program starts with generating interests with the younger age groups.
Murray, who will enter his second season as the Bulldogs’ head football coach, said he “optimistic” he and his coaching staff can build interest in the high school program.
Murray and his coaching staff held a two-day Bulldogs’ camp that included elementary aged kids and the high school seniors, who are getting ready for their second season in Class C, 8-man football.
“This camp is huge (for our program) because it involves little kids,” Murray said. “We take them into practice and we walk them around. They get to meet the high school kids. Getting them to think about becoming a Bulldog one day will be huge.”
Murray, who continues the process of trying to build the Bulldogs into a dynasty, said he knows football success is built in the off season, not when they begin the first official day of practice on Aug. 10.
“Success starts with getting into the weight room and being more physical,” Murray said. “We work really hard on ball security. That is big for us to get the ball back on offense and defense.”
Last year, Maxpreps.com said Mission’s strength of schedule was labeled the toughest in the state of Montana. Last year, Mission had to play Charlo, a team that placed second in the 2016 MHSA Class C, 8-man football twice and Flint Creek, a team that also captured the 2017 MHSA Class C, 8-man football championship twice.
“When we lost those games, I always told our players if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,” Murray said. “When you go out and win or lose a game by 50 points, it doesn’t make your team too much better.”
In 2016, the Mission Bulldogs played with a roster composed of predominantly freshman players. This year they will have a roster that consists mostly of junior players.
Some of the players that will return include Lucas Vanderberg, Troy Matt, Layne Spidel, Wacey McClure, Isaac Dumontier, Darwin Adams, Hayden Curry and Flint McPherson.
“We have a lot of players that are going to get into the weight room, get more physical and hit hard,” Murray said. “We are going to work on ball security. That will be big for us is getting the ball back on offense and we are going to try to keep it.”