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Huerta can't resist gloating a little over Campbell: "He was overlooked by Iowa and Iowa State. His coach at Roosevelt High in Des Moines thought he ought to have a chance somewhere, so he sent me some film. One look and we couldn't wait to get his name on a letter of intent."
Parsons' move into the top small-college ranks has been a hard one. "Some of the nearby colleges remember that not so many years ago we were a little Presbyterian school of 200," Huerta says. Last year Parsons went as far a field as Furman, Chattanooga, Idaho State, Los Angeles State and Hawaii to find opponents. Enrollment is now over 5,000, but as late as 1965, when Huerta arrived from Wichita State—where he had been Missouri Valley Coach of the Year—the practice field was in a gully and measured 50 yards by 60. Games were played in a high school stadium—a small one.
Last season Parsons scheduled its first three games away to allow for completion of a new stadium. "Los Angeles State arrived early in the week of our first home game," Huerta remembers. "Their coach said we'd never play a game there on Saturday unless all the spectators stood around the edge of the field. Only the concrete steps were poured. But in four days we got 8,000 permanent seats installed, 2,000 bleachers erected, goalposts put up, a scoreboard, a fence, two large prefab dressing buildings with showers, and a double-deck press box." Such is football enthusiasm at Parsons.
Montana State is another of those teams with a nasty schedule ( San Diego State, North Dakota State, Weber State, Fresno, West Texas State), practice fields so cluttered with broad-shouldered talent that the sun has trouble getting through to the grass, and a picturesquely nicknamed halfback, Don Hass, a rugged Little All-America from Glendive, Mont. "I like to call him the Iron Tumbleweed," says Coach Jim Sweeney. "My wife, Cile, prefers to call him Old Bread and Butter."
Dennis Erickson, a good option quarterback, can deal or keep like a Virginia City cardsharp, and Ron Bain is perhaps the best pass-receiving flanker ever seen at Montana State. Ray Becky and Henry Urza are more than adequate at fullback.
In the offensive line the resistance-wreckers are Guards Tony Wezenbach and Purnal Whitehead and Tackle Mickey Mathews. Defensively, Jerry Jamison is a strong guard and any play that comes near Linebackers Dennis Muhlbeier and Earl Hanson usually stops there.
Second-ranked by UPI last year, Montana State scored 394 points. Eighty-two of those came off the toe—or rather instep—of graduated Jan Stenerud, but MSU has imported another side-winding Norwegian kicker, Frank Kalfoss.
The Bobcats are in shape. None of them spent the summer on a lifeguard's stand. Jamison, for example, was a pipe layer. Kalfoss played soccer in Norway. Linebacker Hanson drove a truck and hiked up mountains. On one 25-mile trek into Glacier National Park he tangled with a grizzly, presumably a relative of the mascot of archrival Montana University. It must be reported that it was Hanson who climbed a tree. But all other omens and portents for the 1967 season are favorable.