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Eric Peterson, Published August 29 2012

Freshman quarterback takes over starting job for Dragons

Moorhead

Earlier this summer, Steve Laqua was heading back to his office one evening when he saw a solitary figure on the practice field.

“Everybody else is gone and I see this guy out in the middle of our practice field, taking pretend snaps, pretend fakes and moving his feet so that they are in the right place to throw,” the Minnesota State Moorhead head football coach said.

That guy was Myles Montplaisir, a redshirt freshman quarterback from Fargo Shanley who earned the starting job in fall camp. MSUM opens its season at 1 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Wayne State (Neb.), the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opener for both teams.

“That’s the kind of work ethic you want out of a leader,” said Laqua, who also coached Montplaisir for four years when both were at Shanley.

Montplaisir has played quarterback and wanted to play the position for as long as he can remember. When Montplaisir was in elementary school playing for F-M Athletics, he can remember splitting time with another player. That didn’t sit well with the young Montplaisir.

“I just really wanted to earn that spot of playing the whole game,” he said. “I thought it was a big deal at the time.”

Growing up, Montplaisir enjoyed watching former North Dakota State quarterback Steve Walker. Montplaisir was in the Fargodome stands when Walker led the Bison to a thrilling 41-38 comeback victory against Rhett Bomar-led Sam Houston State in 2007. Walker threw the winning touchdown pass to Kole Heckendorf with seven seconds remaining.

“He was always commanding everything,” Montplaisir said of Walker. “He was a great leader. When the pressure was on he was always at his best.”

Senior wide receiver Barik Williams compares Montplaisir to another well-known leader at the position – New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow.

“I kind of see him as a young Tebow, how he brings effort and energy, enthusiasm, his faith,” Williams said. “That feeds off a lot in our guys. That makes everybody else give that effort and give 100 percent each play.”

Montplaisir said Tebow is one of his favorite QBs because of his leadership skills, work ethic and faith.

Montplaisir’s ability to lead will be important during his first year as a college starter. MSUM is expected to start seven freshmen on offense for the opener.

“I take pride in the fact that when everything is going wrong, I need to be right,” Montplaisir said. “When everything else around you seems to not be going well, people need to lean on you.”

Montplaisir was a winner at Shanley, leading the Deacons to consecutive North Dakota Class 2A state championships in 2009 and 2010.

Laqua was the head coach of those Shanley teams. Montplaisir was a three-year starter for the Deacons.

“His intangibles are the biggest. He’s the leader, he’s intense, he’s tough,” Laqua said. “He’s always been a guy who is calm under pressure and he’s relished having the pressure on him.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com