The C.M. Russell football team is off to a 2-2 start this season which on paper might not seem all that great, but they've been playing good ball all season.
After losing to arguably the best team in the state, Billings Senior, a week ago, the Rustlers face one of the worst teams in Class AA Friday, the Hellgate Knights.
In a team huddle Thursday Rustlers head coach Gary Lowry said he wants his team to start off fast against Hellgate in order to set the pace early on.
The players also know this is an extremely important game because a 3-2 record and trending upward is a lot better than 2-3 heading into next week's matchup against now undefeated Helena Capital.
But CMR can't look that far yet.
They understand they have to take care of business Friday first.
"They're a high school football team just like we are and they're getting better every game and every week," said Rustlers senior wide receiver Jake Wilkins. "This is an opportunity for us to get better and be sound in what we do. We can't look past them that's for sure."
Senior defensive back Cade Jensen added Friday's game against Hellgate means a lot to the Rustlers because of where they would fit in the standings.
"If we get to 3-2 then we'll be more motivated to keep moving on," he said. "Once you get into a negative record then the emotions get down but if we can get to 3-2 then we'll be fine."
CMR hosts Hellgate at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.