Before Saturday's Class B Big Sky All-Star Football Game in Billings and on the last day of school at Florence, graduating senior Spencer Jones showed a side of himself that fans seldom see on the gridiron.

For a fun-spirited senior prank, Jones rode his horse, Tyrone, to school.

"The night before, we strung up a high line and I got the idea from Conrad (high school) because they do it every year,' Jones said, chuckling. "It gives the younger kids something to remember me by — Spencer, the kid who rode his horse to school."

Thanks to an antiquated Montana law, Jones' horse was "stabled" at the school's outdoor classroom and tended to by Florence-Carlton administrators while the somewhat soft-spoken athlete attended his final day of high school.

"That's straight up Jonesy," third-year Florence head coach Pat Duchien said of Spencer, who joins his coach and three of his Florence teammates at the all-star game in Billings this weekend. "They were doing it for fun and it was perceived really funny from the whole school from what I hear, but that's just a side of Spencer that people don't get to see very often.

"He's a very, very fun kid when he's not serious on the football field or the wrestling mat."

Those arenas are where Jones became well known around the state. Florence's all-state linebacker earned a scholarship to play football at Rocky Mountain College in Billings after his undefeated 29-0 run to the Class B 205-pound wrestling title last winter.

But just as Jones' prank last week revealed, even the best athletes have a side to them that spectators in the stands don't get to see.

The same is true for the trio of graduating Florence seniors — Gabe Bennett, Zach Blomquist and Trevyn Wood — who join Jones on the North team's Class B Big Sky All-Star Football Game roster.

"They've all got pretty unique stories," said coach Duchien, who is the first-time Class B All-Star game head coach of the North squad.


One look at Gabe Bennett, and American football culture almost dictates that the graduating senior should play the sport. He's 6-foot-4, 235 pounds and as coach Duchien puts it, "He's got very low body fat."

He's a football specimen.

But Bennett's size, speed and strength that have him starting at both offensive and defensive line Saturday at the all-star game only begin to tell his story.

The Florence grad is readying for a career of service, as he's enrolled at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island with plans to continue on to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland — notoriously one of the most challenging schools in the country.

Bennett's upbringing, which coach Duchien pointed to as part of what makes the formidable teenager such an upstanding citizen, helped guide his decision.

"My family has been in the Navy, and I've spent a lot of time in the water as a kid, but I always knew I wanted to be in the Navy," Bennett said. "I've always had a sense of pride in my country and I've always wanted to serve it.

Bennett also plans on playing rugby at the prep school, befitting of his personal character and sheer athletic ability.


While Bennett will be heading to the east coast of North America, his fellow Florence grad and Class B all-star teammate Zach Blomquist will be in western South America.

Blomquist, an all-state offensive and defensive lineman for Florence, is traveling to Chile on July 10 to begin a two-year mission trip for his church. 

That means he's one month away from an entirely different world.

"I haven't had much time to think about it since I was pretty busy with school and now the all-star game, but it's pretty scary for sure. I've been in Montana my entire life, so it's going to be a big change," Blomquist said.

It's a change Duchien expects his player to pass with flying colors.

"He's very, very grounded in his faith and his walk and he's one of those kids that is going to go out of his way to help anyone out there," Duchien said. "He's just a true, sincere, loving, good-hearted young man. It's just fun to see him grow to where he's got a plan."

And for Blomquist, he's excited to get one more football game with his friends before the sendoff. 

"I've played with these guys all the way through middle school — football, rugby, wrestling with Spencer. It's great to have another chance to spend time with them and meet other guys from other teams," said Blomquist, who hopes to play college football and become a physical therapist when he returns from his mission trip.


Trevyn Wood's plan sticks a little closer to home, as the fourth Florence football player on the all-star roster has signed up for classes at Montana State and plans on studying civil engineering with a minor in journalism.

As far as football goes, Wood said Saturday's all-star game is likely his last hoorah. 

And after concussion concerns kept the senior from competing alongside both Bennett and Blomquist at the high school state rugby tournament in Corvallis earlier this spring, Wood is excited to take the field one more time with his friends.

"Growing up with these guys and playing in this game and having my coach right now means a ton. I could never replace them," Wood said. "Being able to make an impact this time is huge."

When Duchien landed in Billings he specifically sought out Wood, who will start at cornerback for the North team.

"Trevyn and I talked right when we got down here and he just had this glow in his eyes being able to put on the helmet one more time," Duchien said, adding how he's proud of Wood and the rest of his quartet in Billings for planning out their future.

"They're goal oriented, they know what they're going to do. We preach contributing to society in our program and those (four) are definitely going to be contributing to society for years."

The four teammates — and friends — indeed made a lasting impact on the Florence football program.

Now, before they all head out in different directions to try and make their mark on the world, Florence's all stars get to suit up one more time together Saturday to show off part of what makes them so special.

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