Football

‘I think (he’s) hungry.’ Former All-Idaho QB leads race to start for Montana State.

Mountain View wins its first 5A football title

Mountain View High School beat Capital on Saturday Nov. 19th at Albertsons Stadium in Boise to win its first-ever 5A state championship in football.
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Mountain View High School beat Capital on Saturday Nov. 19th at Albertsons Stadium in Boise to win its first-ever 5A state championship in football.

Montana State entered the spring searching for its next starting quarterback. And after the Bobcats wrapped up their spring game Saturday, Mountain View High grad Tucker Rovig (2017) has established himself as the frontrunner entering fall camp.

Rovig, a redshirt sophomore in 2019, completed 8-of-14 passes for 134 yards and had two big plays during a nasty day in Bozeman, by far the best performance of Montana State’s three quarterbacks to participate.

“I think it was a challenging day to go out and perform as a quarterback given the weather conditions,” Montana State coach Jeff Choate told reporters in a press conference after the game. “I think that’s the reality of it, so it’s very difficult to give those guys an honest evaluation.

“I did think Tucker had the most command of the offense (Saturday) and moved the ball well when he was in with the (starters).”

Redshirt freshmen Ruben Beltran (4-for-13, 25 yards) and Casey Bauman (4-for-9, 25 yards) both struggled as the defense dominated the 80-play scrimmage.

Montana State did not officially declare a starter after the spring game, but Rovig showcased his experience in the Bobcats’ offense after starting two games last season.

Rovig made his first start for an injured Troy Andersen on the road against FCS powerhouse South Dakota State. He struggled in the loss but rebounded the next week at home against Wagner, leading the Bobcats to a 47-24 win while throwing for 310 yards and three TDs with no interceptions.

“When we’re in the huddle, you know he’s there,” wide receiver Travis Jonsen said in a press conference. “You hear his voice all the time. He tells you the situation. He’s like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.’ ”

Choate said he planned to increase Rovig’s playing time as a traditional quarterback in packages after Andersen, a running threat, returned. But Rovig tore a ligament in his left foot during an October practice, forcing him to have season-ending surgery.

Andersen has since moved back to linebacker, opening the quarterback competition.

“I think (Rovig’s) hungry,” Choate told 406mtsports.com, the website for a group of newspapers in Montana. “He definitely prepares well and is a guy that provides good leadership and is getting more comfortable in that role.”

Rovig led Mountain View to a 22-3 record and back-to-back state championship game appearances in 2015 and 2016. He quarterbacked the team to its first state title as a senior in 2016 and wrapped up his career as a first-team, 5A All-Idaho selection.

While Rovig has established himself as the favorite entering fall camp, one wild card remains in Chris Murray. The incoming junior started his first game at Montana State in 2016 as a 17-year-old, has two years of starting experience and was the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year in 2016.

But Murray was academically ineligible all of last season and could only practice with Montana State on the weekends this spring as he works to become eligible. He did not participate in Saturday’s spring game.

Rovig told 406mtsports.com he expects the quarterback battle to carry over into fall camp. Montana State opens the season Aug. 31 at Texas Tech.

“It’s honestly been really fun,” Rovig said. “The thing that’s really cool about it, I thought last year I had a really good friendship and relationship with all the guys that were in it, and this year it’s even better.

“Everyone in the QB room wants to see the other guy succeed. So we’re all pushing each other, and if we ever see anything that can be fixed or altered, we’ll speak up. But it’s a really healthy competition.”

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