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Re: Billings Gazette

By Bryno
8/09/2019 9:57 am


GM Bryno and Coach Granger were recently quoted in other media outlets that they are considering pulling the plug on veteran QB Johnny LeClair to make way for rookie phenom [hopeful] Daniel Freeman.

_______________Att_Comp Pct Yds __Yds/Att Sk/Yd _TDs _Lng _Int _Rat
Johnny Leclair __219 145 66.2 1,481 ___6.76 11/107 __3 ___40 _3 _84.29
Daniel Freeman __71 _14 19.7 __109 ___1.54____0/0 __0 ___24 _8 _0.00

Could this be a mistake? Billings will have to have lights-out second half of the season, even if they manage to pull off a mild upset of the visiting Syracuse Shockers, (4-3, 2-1). Syracuse is coming off of a 1-point loss at Greenwood. A game in which the Syracuse punter 'missed-the-bus'. Literally.

The Rough Riders season has certainly had it's ups and downs in these first 5 games. Starting the year off by shellacking Niagara Falls in a 41-0 shutout but then having the favor returned by Gainesville and Salem. *True, those two shutout losses were by a combined 10-0. But this only highlights the power outage on the offensive side of the ball.

If Bryno/Granger do make the big decision to move to Freeman, the upside will be that the rookie will face 5 teams [currently] with losing records.

Defensively, Billings' league ranking doesn't really show a good reflection of how well they have actually played. The defensive backs have hawked the ball fairly effectively, snagging 11 interceptions. However, four of those picks left with Rickey Starkey in the deal to get Freeman. The defensive line has done well getting pressure on the opposing QB's. DT Danniel Cunning ham leads the team with 6 sacks, accounting for almost half of the team's 14 total. (Sacramento leads the league with 16).

Injury-wise, the Riders are in decent shape with the biggest damage coming from the huge hole in the middle of that defense. MLB Bart Gray [26 tackles] who has already missed 2 games, will be sidelined for at least another 3-4 weeks with a lisfranc injury. SS David Centers came out of Thursday night's game with a neck injury, team sources say he will likely miss 3 to 4 weeks.
Last edited at 8/09/2019 10:20 am

Re: Billings Gazette

By Bryno
8/13/2019 9:13 am


(Billings, MT-UPI) Well, the Rough Riders got a 'decent' game out of Johnny Leclair. Unfortunately it wasn't 'good'. 16/27 for 172 yds, 0TD 1INT against the Shockers and that will likely round out his career as a starter in Billings.

Although the passing numbers don't exactly light up, the rushing numbers actually pale in comparison. Matthew Diaz with 4 yards on 26 carries. Do the math. We'll save you the time; it's about 6 inches/carry.

Brace yourselves Rider-Nation! Here comes Daniel Freeman!
Last edited at 8/13/2019 9:32 am

Re: Billings Gazette

By Bryno
8/14/2019 4:06 pm


(Nashville, TN-UPI) "A bit twangy", were the words from Granger when asked for three words to describe his newly acquired QB. The head coach is never shaken, it seems, no matter the outcome of a game. Win or lose.

Lose they did on Tuesday night, a muggy night in Music City. The Pickers defensive backfield snagged 4 of Daniel Freeman's passes and cruised to a 19-3 victory. One of those passes produced the only touchdown in the game for Nashville when cornerback, William Burse snagged the throw and returned it 26 yards for the score.

The longest drive that Freeman executed for Billings was 6 play, 20 yard drive midway through the 2nd quarter. In all the offense managed just 7 first-downs. Freeman was 12/40 for 72 yards and the 4 picks.

Defensively it was another great performance for Billings, given the amount of time spent on the field. Nashville's offense was on the field for nearly 45 minutes of the clock. James Gaspar may have found a permanent slot on the weak side LB position, leading the team in tackles for the 2nd straight game with 13. Sherwood Williams had an impact with a forced fumble, as did Erik Smith, still filling in at MLB for Bart Gray. Trainers say that Gray will likely sit out one more game before returning.

Next up for the Rough Riders: Cheyenne Windjammers (2-7, 1-2) who just ended a 7-game losing streak by ripping Wilmington 27-6.
Last edited at 8/14/2019 4:07 pm

Re: Billings Gazette

By Bryno
8/19/2019 2:15 pm


(Billings MT - UPI) The Rough Riders eeked out a couple of wins to bookend the weekend knocking off Cheyenne and Aurora in two hotly contested battles [of attrition]. Regardless, Rodeo Stadium in Billings was rocking on Thursday and Sunday nights with the home crowd getting their first in-person view of Daniel Freeman.

Riders 21 Wind Jammers 18 - Freeman was 10/30 in this one, with 3 TD's and 3 Int's and just over 200 passing yards. Granger- "It's going to take a little time, I mean...not only is this kid a rookie but he's new to our team!" There are a lot of things to get used to before he's going to fully blossom into everyone's expectations."

It didn't take long for the young QB to "get used" to playing with RB Matt Diaz. All three of Freeman's TD passes were to Diaz, including the game clincher with over 60 seconds left in the game. Diaz's running game was non-existent but made the most out of the catch-run with 6 catches for 178 yards. The three scoring catches went for 44, 57 and 58 yards, respectively. Defensively the Riders forced two fumbles and a sack in keeping Cheyenne's offense at bay for the entire night. The Wind Jammers scored on a fumble recovery, a safety and FG's only. Billings visits Cheyenne in two weeks.

Riders 12 Aurora 9 - Billings' defense once again stood tall in Rodeo Arena on Sunday night, holding the Sky Force to nothing but field goals - making it two straight games that Sherwood and Co. have not allowed a touchdown. And it was the second straight game that there were late-game heroics involved in notching the win. This time it was on the foot of Michael Roark with a 49 yarder as the clock hit all zeroes.

Freeman's night was pretty rough as well, struggling to complete passes and he put up quite a few! 10/44 for 101 yards and 2 interceptions. Diaz's running game made an appearance with the RB picking up 61 yards on 18 carries and adding another 42 receiving yards.

The bigger news out of this game is the season-ending injury to Bart Gray, who had just come back from injury. Gray had 6 tackles and 2 FF's and a recovery before leaving the game. Sherwood Williams is settling into the new defense as he snagged 2 of Gauvin's throws and John Booth swiped another as the Riders D forced 5 turnovers on the night.

Don't look, now [Riders Fans] - all this late game heroics and winning stuff will be in MAJOR jeopardy on Tuesday night as Billings will go into Rapid City to take on the Iron Horse who are coming off of their first loss of the season in Syracuse, NY.
Last edited at 8/19/2019 2:17 pm

Re: Billings Gazette

By Bryno
12/11/2019 6:07 pm

Re: Billings Gazette

By Bryno
12/15/2019 7:28 pm

Riders Split 1st Two - Get the Ironhorse Next

Well the season start wasn't anywhere close to what was expected in the Billings camp. After having what management deemed "a much improved off-season" over the first year. The Rough Riders hosted the Ozark Cross fire, a team who, like Billings, just missed getting into the playoffs last season.

The Crossfire had little trouble going 100/300 (rush-pass) and blew up for 19 2nd quarter points, riding that explosion to a 22-10 win.

2nd year starter Daniel Freeman did manage to eclipse the 300 yard mark and tossed one TD to WR Kenneth Brown.

Next up was a visit to Greenwood to take on the Camshafts. This was the 2nd visit to Greenwood in the last 2 years with the Camshafts ripping the Riders 27-6 last year.

The upgraded defense for Billings took a 'bend-don't-break' stance in this game, allowing Greenwood only one trip into the redzone. That 1 trip began at the Riders' 25 yard line following a Freeman interception. That miscue would net the only TD given up by Billings and the Rider's would even their record with the Camshafts, winning 14-13.

The team's leading rusher, RB James Lewis was injured in the game and will likely miss several weeks with a high-ankle sprain. Freeman as 17/31 for 217 yards with 2 TD's and 2 INT's. It was WR Kenneth Brown and FB Ray Holmes on the receiving end of the two scores.

Billings will look to give the home crowd a special night when the RC Iron Horse roll into town. The Rider's have yet to beat the Ironhorse but played them tough in both games last season. Rapid City comes into this match-up 1-1, losing their opener to Fullerton 13-9 but getting back on their feet against Ozark 19-17 in Arkansas.
Last edited at 12/15/2019 7:35 pm