Highland Stags general manager Tom Hutchison believes American football is on an upward trajectory in the region – recognition of the Stags in particular continues to grow.
The club, which plays its home matches at the Ross Sutherland Rugby Club ground in Invergordon, is in its first season as a full member of the British American Football Association (BAFA).
They have been around for years, however, as an outlet for adults to play the sport.
Things took things to the next level last year when, as associate members essentially auditioning for their place in the association, the Stags won the Saltire Division made up of Scottish clubs.
As with most other sports, success sparks interest and Hutchison has seen an increase in awareness and support for the club following recent developments.
This, he hopes, will in turn lead to new opportunities to take the club forward in the near future.
“I have a vision of where we want to be – we’re not quite there yet, but we’ll get there,” Hutchison said.
“I’ve been involved in American football since 1999, and I’ve noticed that more and more people in general are recognizing American football.
“This year, starting well, we are attracting more people than we have before.
“We’re becoming more and more recognizable in the community – I wear my hoodie quite regularly, and I’m quite often stopped and asked about it, or by people who have seen our scores.
“We are not tied to the Highland Wildcats. I played for them as a kid so I know them very well and they did a fantastic job publicizing the game. For the first few years people knew who the Wildcats were but they didn’t really know who we were. were.
“They didn’t recognize us, or they thought we were all the same, but we are a special team. There’s no direct connection as such, but more people come in and more people recognize the team.
“It also helps with sponsors. It’s not a cheap game to play – our trip to Dumfries cost well over £1000 for a game.
“It costs money, so having sponsors there really helps. We are in the process of agreeing on a sponsor for our uniforms, so we will have new uniforms. here a week or two.”