By Mick Holien
Certainly injuries are a part of competitive sports but it seems so unfortunate and equally unfair when it happened to a player who reached fruition after a difficult journey only to have that success swept away in an instance.
Such is the case with a couple of quarterbacks – though I am sure there are more – with Texas A&M signal caller Nick Starkel and University of Montana starter Reese Phillips.
The area is less familiar with Starkel whose Dad Maury hails from a Ronan family.
He had ankle surgery that will take a long time healing but tweeted fans I’m doing just fine … God has a plan through all this.”
A redshirt freshman who originally committed to Oklahoma State, Starkel was embroiled in a three-way battle for the starting job gaining the favor of the coaching staff in just the week before the opener.
Kentucky transfer Phillips surfaced as the Montana front runner just prior to the fall scrimmage where he looked anything but like the lead guy after throwing four picks, two for TDs.
But he gained the blessing of the staff and started Montana’s first three games.
And he came out hot against Savannah State hitting at least his first nine attempts before he was felled on a weird play seriously breaking his ankle, according to his mother, and rupturing some ligaments, an injury that required almost immediate surgery.
While asking for his privacy, Phillips sent a message to Griz faithful through the Athletic Department.
“Being the quarterback for this team is truly the honor of a lifetime and simply a dream come true,” he said. “Although I won’t be on the field playing, I’ll be at every game doing everything in my power to help, my team continues to reach our goals … lets pack WGS this Saturday and get after the Eagles. Go Griz.”
It all leaves redshirt freshman Gresch Jensen at the helm where he connected on 11 of 15 last Saturday, passed for a pair and ran for another.
He gets the call in the crucial Big Sky Conference opener against Eastern Washington Saturday under the lights in Missoula.
The 11th ranked Eagles minus Cooper Cupp, the longtime head coach and a new offensive coordinator present a rather unknown quantity.
But it sounds imposing but if the Griz are to be a contender it has to hold home court.