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Running back Reese Neville off to a fast start with Montana Western

Posted at 6:50 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 20:50:38-04

DILLON — At the end of the day, Reese Neville just wants to play football.

The Montana Western redshirt senior running back graduated from Yerington High School in Nevada in 2016 and then joined the Nevada Wolf Pack, where he spent the next four years "being a very average player at that level."

He played two games in 2018 and didn't see the field in 2019.

"It ended up not being what I wanted," Neville said at a Western practice on Tuesday afternoon. "I really wanted to play football somewhere where I was loved and could really connect with the team.

"This is where I felt at home."

After his debut performance against Carroll College, there's little doubt he's settling in just fine.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Neville racked up 167 rushing yards and two scores on the ground while tacking on 50 receiving yards to help Western to a 26-22 win in the Bulldogs' first game since 2019.

After not playing a game in three years, Neville was clearly ready to hit the ground running.

"It was an amazing feeling to get back on the field," Neville said. "It had been a long time coming, put in a lot of work with my team. To get out on the field with my team was a good feeling."

For Western head coach Ryan Nourse, the game unfolded as he had anticipated -- a handful of hiccups to start but with his team finding it's strive down the stretch and willing its way to a win.

"The game really went how we thought it would," Nourse said. "I believed we would run the ball, I felt like we could dominate them up front in the run game. I feel like our running backs are really a different breed of back then what we've had over the past three seasons. I think we saw that on Saturday."

One of Neville's key motivations for transferring to Western was the chance to reconnect with quarterback Jon Jund. Both Nevada natives, the two competed again each other in high school, with Jund playing for Spring Creek High School.

"Once (Jund) heard I was thinking about transferring he hit me up right away and got coach (Nourse) in contact with me," Neville said. "It was all up from there."

Even as opponents, there was a mutual respect between Jund and Neville in high school and it's translated seamlessly into their time as teammates.

"I knew we were very similar competitively so coming to play with him I knew we'd have the same mindset and the same goals," Neville said.

The Bulldogs now turn their attention to a tough road test against No. 18 Eastern Oregon, which outlasted Montana Tech 26-24 on Saturday.

"It's way easier it is to improve after a win then it is to improve after the disappointment of a loss, especially early on in the season," Nourse said. "We have notoriously started extremely slow and been a very lackluster performing team in the first half against EOU so we're gonna work diligently."

Said Neville: "We have a great team, we're gonna prepare all week. We're really tough so I think we're gonna bring it and do some of the same stuff that we did."

Western and Eastern Oregon kick off at 2 p.m. MDT.