Havre Daily News Sports Editor
On a near perfect spring day, the Montana State University-Northern football team was close to near-perfect offensively as it has been all spring.
The Lights offense racked up six touchdowns on its defensive counterparts, wrapping up the final spring scrimmage on Saturday at Blue Pony Stadium.
The offensive explosion was a far cry from last weekend's scrimmage in which the Lights' offense struggled on a rainy and cold day. Maybe Saturday's calm 68-degree weather helped a little, but head coach Mark Samson believes it was a little more.
"Really it just came down to execution," he said. "We did a much better job of executing on offense, and we didn't do that a week ago."
Northern opened the controlled scrimmage with a text book 60-yard scoring drive, highlighted by two nice catches from Nick Arnold and punctuated by a Kyle Samson 1-yard touchdown plunge.
The Lights' defense rallied on the second drive, as Kyle Elliott picked off an errant Samson pass and returned it 40-yards before being drug down.
Samson got a little revenge on the following possession, connecting with Dan Wirtzberger on a 29-yard touchdown pass.
"I thought our receivers played very well," Samson said. "Nick had some nice catches that kept drives going and Dan made some nice catches over the middle."
After short break, Northern brought in its second string players for four possessions, and the defense evened the score as Elliott picked off a Wirtzberger pass and rambled 60-yards for a touchdown.
Wirtzberger atoned for the pick on the following possession, finding Tyler Allen alone in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
The offensive highlights continued as Samson and the first string came back in and made their presence known immediately. On the first play, Samson ducked a would-be tackler and weaved 50-yards for a touchdown. Samson would find the end zone one more time to culminate the day.
"Kyle made some big plays," Samson said. "But, the offensive line played extremely well."
Unfortunately in team scrimmage, while one team is shining, the other is suffering. Yet, Samson was still pleased with his defense's effort.
"You know some of our defensive players were upset with the way they played, and we did have some missed tackles, but I thought the defense, as a whole, played extremely hard," he said. "I certainly can't fault their effort."
As for his assessment of his second spring with the Lights, Samson couldn't have been more pleased with the results.
"It's like night and day from last year," he said. "We were able to put in so many more things. Obviously, the kids are more adept, but I think having been in the system for a year definitely helps."
With the progress his team is making and a slew of new recruits, Samson is counting down the days for fall practice to start.
"I really am excited to get back and get to work," Samson said. "The kids have really improved and we have some good kids coming in. I really think we are starting to feel like a college program right now."