The Mission Valley periodically has a handful of players who continue on in their football careers at the collegiate level. Among those who this writer is aware of who are presently involved in varying degrees include Tanner Wilson along with Matt Rensvold with the University of Montana Grizzlies; Jonah Burke, Michael Delaney as well as George Shick with the Montana Tech Battlin’ Bears; Joe Gallatin with the Rocky Mountain College Orediggers; and Coleman Taylor with the Crown College Storm.
Closest to this area are the tandem of Wilson and Rensvold with the gridiron Griz in Missoula. Prep Rensvold-Wilson collaborations were not only a dynamic receiver-passer duo, but the combination also yielded over 2,000 collective career points in basketball as well as contributed to a share of a short relay Polson school record in track. Rensvold has been the most conspicuous in limited appearances. Among his eight catches for under a hundred yards, two of those have resulted in touchdowns.
Playing on the field is not the only means by which those with athletic aptitude can continue making contributions to the sport of their passion once eligibility criteria have been exceeded.
One such former Mission Valley area prep player who has since graduated this past spring from the gridiron fields of Rocky Mountain College (RMC) is Jared Gallatin. Having already traversed the steps on the stairwell from prep to collegiate competition, the footpath of Gallatin has now shifted to climbing rungs on the coaching ladder, where he has assumed graduate assistant duties coaching cornerbacks at Northern State University (Aberdeen, SD).
Gallatin has a few pointers to convey to the new NSU charges under his tutelage. In addition to supplementing opponents under coverage with an extra shadow to deal with along with conveying the RMC defense version of a warm welcome with Battlin’ Bear hugs (tackles), Gallatin plucked two interceptions, one of those a coveted pick-six that he ran back 44 yards for a touchdown his sophomore season.
Although his playing days concluded before the current crop of collegians, not to be overlooked is former Polson Pirate quarterback Craig Bagnell. A four-year starter behind center for the NCAA Division II University of Mary Marauders, Bagnell’s QB collegiate career eclipsed several school records that included touchdown passes, yards passed, passing attempts, completions while guiding the league’s top offense in 2011.
Upon graduation, Bagnell joined the Bemidji State Beavers football staff as a graduate assistant coaching the wide receiver corps in 2014. Elevated to offensive coordinator the following season, Bagnell retooled the offense under which the Beavers flourished as they leaped into the upper quadrant of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) statistics.
The following three seasons saw the Bemidji State offense reset several school records that included scoring, total yards and passing yardage while compiling an overall 24-10 record that saw 18 Bemidji State players accrue all-conference recognition.
Such level of success piqued the interest of his alma mater University of Mary, who then tendered an offer for Bagnell to take over the reins of the head coaching position for the Marauders in 2018, making him the youngest coach among the NCAA ranks at age 27.
While there has been a period of adjustment in his first season as head coach, one anticipates that Bagnell will continue to tweak and fine-tune the offensive engine so that it begins to hum under his tutelage in subsequent seasons.
Below are included some prep and/or collegiate football accolades:
rs fr. 6-4 TE #81 Matt Rensvold, UMontana
FB def: NWA POY, a-s, 4x all-conf 1st-tm ILB 2016-14, hm 2013; FB off: a-s WR, 3x a-c: 1st-tm WR 2016, 1st-tm SB/TE 2015, 2nd-tm SB 2014; BBB 2x all-trny, 2x a-s, 3x 1st-tm (4yr2017-13Vcareer: 1231p, 703r, 148a, 115s, 53b); TF a-s: 2x 4x100 2nd 2017-16, 2017: 200 5th, 400 3rd; 2017 a-c: 4x100 1st, 200 2nd, 400 2nd, 100 6th, 4x400 6th/ 2016 all-conf: 200 6th, 400 3rd, 4x100 4th, 4x400 5th, 200 6th.
rs fr. 6-2 QB #13 Tanner Wilson, UMontana
FB off: NWA POY, a-s, 3x a-c: 1st-tm QB 2016, 2nd-tm QB 2015, hm WR 2013; FB def: a-s, 2x a-c 1st-tm S;
(BBB all-trny, a-s, 3x a-c: 1st-tm 2016-17, 2nd-tm 2014-16, (2017-13)Vcareer: 861p, 255r, 234a, 101s, 6b; TF 2x a-s 4x100 2nd 2017-16, 2017 a-c: 4x100 1st, 100 4th, 200 6th, 4x400 6th/ 2016 a-c: 4x100 4th,
Tanner Wilson (2016-17: 25gms – 314p, 70r, 80a, 36s, 114FGs)
· so. DL/LB #96 Jonah Burke (Polson), MT Tech 4a
FB a-s LB 2016, a-c 1st-tm OG/LB,
· so. DB #33 Michael Delaney (Charlo) MT Tech 3t2a 2bu
FB a-s, 2x a-c 1st-tm QB 2015, hm QB 2013; TF a-s (2015: 100 6th, 300h 6th, 4x100 6th, 4x400 7th / 2014: 4x100 2nd, 4x400 2nd, 300h 4th, 100 5th), 2014 State C tm champion
· fr. LB George Shick (Arlee), MT Tech
2017 a-c: 1st-tm OL, 2nd-tm DE 2017; 2016 a-c: 2nd-tm SB/DL
FB all-conf 2nd-tm SB/DL 2016),
· jr. LB #34 Joe Gallatin (Polson), Rocky career:2t6a
FB def: 2x a-c: 1st-tm OLB 2014, hm ILB 2013; FB off: a-c 2nd-tm OL 2014; TF 2015 a-c: jav 4th, dsc 4th)
· fr. OL #51 Coleman Taylor (Ronan), Crown College, MN (D3)
FB 2017 NWA: a-c 2nd-tm OT/DE, 2016 6B: a-c 2nd-tm OL
· graduate asst. coach Jared Gallatin (Polson), Northern State University
RMC 2017-14: 7t4a, IR 2-55, 3PD, 1PR 1-0, 1TD
2x academic All-Frontier Conference
· head coach Craig Bagnell (Polson), U Mary
FB 2x a-s QB 2006, 2008, 3x a-c 2nd-tm QB 2007; BBB 2x a-c hm 2009-07
2x all-NSIC: 2nd-tm QB 2011, hm QB 2013
2012 Beyond Sports Network Pre-Season All-American
UMary 2013-10 759-1229-9170 75TDs