It's not often class 'B' football programs send multiple players to the division one level; Not only is that the case for a pair of former Loyola High Rams, but to add to the transition these best friends are going from teammates to Big Sky Conference rivals. Bo Hughes and Josh Janssen say the gridiron is definitely where their competitive friendship began.
"It's been a rivalry since we started being friends,” says Janssen. “On the field or at practices we could be on defense together but it was who is going to get the most picks, who is going to get the most tackles, who is going to do this or do that."
"In the weight room, on the field. When we do agility. We push ourselves," explained Hughes.
That friendly rivalry took on a new intensity last spring when these two signed with division one football programs. Josh Janssen to the University of Montana, Bo Hughes to the rival Montana State Bobcats.
"It's going to be weird because me and Josh have been together since freshman year you know,” said Hughes. “Day one wearing the same colors. Going out there working together. And now we're going to be in different colors..."
"It'll be really fun to look across and see him in his ugly cat colors,” joked Janssen. “But it'll be fun, I'm really excited for it."
"I'm sure we'll talk a little bit before the game and a little bit after,” said Hughes of the atmosphere when these two face off against each other in November. “But like Josh said once we get in-between the white lines and actually playing, can't really have friendships... especially there."
But until kickoff of that ‘Brawl of the Wild’ game these two remain great friends and there was no question that they would continue to train together all summer long leading up to fall camp.
"Training together for us for the past several years now has been amazing,” said Janssen. “Just looking at him and his legs he's like a horse. He can run anybody over and lift as much weight as he wants and so it helps me, it's more motivation for me. It is fun lifting with your best friend."
One more reason for these two to train together is they share the same motivation of proving themselves at the division one level despite coming out of a class 'B' football program.
"Yeah there's definitely a chip on my shoulder,” admits Hughes. “Probably the same with Josh too. You want to prove yourself. Being in class 'B' it looks different. I don't know if it really is different. I think there are great athletes in any class."
"It may sound arrogant but we wanted to make people remember us,” agreed Janssen. “You don't very often see class 'B' kids coming out and going to division one."
And there's one more catch to this rivalry when they do step on the same field. Janssen is listed at wide receiver while Hughes is listed at safety. Will we see a Montana touchdown reception or a Montana State interception?
"He'll be looking to take my head off and I'll be looking to juke him out if his shoes and try to get by him," says Janssen.
"Just can't wait if that moment happens and I hope it does,” said Hughes. “Just the intensity and the thrill from it will just be amazing."