Skyler Roope, a walk-on at Montana Western from Capital High, recently completed his senior season of football with the Bulldogs.
A 5-foot-11, 190-pound safety, Roope led the 2016 'Dawgs defense with two fumble recoveries, and ranked second with three interceptions. He was No. 3 on the team with four pass breakups, fourth with 37 solo tackles, and fifth with 51 total tackles.
At Capital, during Roope's senior year in 2010, he tied for second on the Bruins' squad with three interceptions, and was fourth with four deflected passes. One of his best games was a double-interception effort versus Billings Senior.
After walking on at Western, which went 6-4 this past season, he earned a starting position as a junior when he came on strong during the later half of the 2015 campaign. Against the College of Idaho, he returned and interception for 49 yards before being tackled out of bounds, and was named UMW's Defensive Player of the Week.
This year, he garnered the second Player of the Week of his career, in a 35-28 win over Carroll College. Roope scored the game-winning touchdown with 4:17 left to play, when a fumble at the Saints’ 11-yard line landed at his feet and he picked up the ball and broke the 28-all tie with a dive into the end zone.
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Roope was an inspiration to his Western teammates with his strong work ethic, both in the weight room and on the gridiron. His best lifts pumping iron included a 550-pound squat, a 350 bench press and a 295 clean.
His efforts and accomplishments at Western were not a surprise for those who knew him in high school.
"Skyler Roope was a solid defensive back for us at Capital High School," Bruin coach Kyle Mihelish said. "He defined what a Bruin is: Tough, hard-nosed, hustled, and very coachable. He went to Western, walked on and proved himself. He was a two-year starter and he earned it.
"Skyler Roope is a great story. Good things come to those that work. All of us as coaches are proud of what he's accomplished."
The son of Doug and Jeanette Roope, in the classroom in Dillon, Skyler is a double major, in business administration and health and human performance.