The Daily Inter Lake
Forty of the state’s best senior football players — plus two from Alberta, Canada — will convene in Billings tonight for the 71st annual Montana East-West Shrine Game.
Among those 40 players are 14 athletes from the Flathead Valley, led by four each from Glacier and Columbia Falls.
Polson and Eureka will have two representatives apiece, while Bigfork and Whitefish will both send one.
First played in 1947, the East-West Shrine game features players from all four high school classifications and raises money for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Spokane, Washington.
All area players will compete for Team West, which will be coached by Helena’s Tony Arntson.
Chris Murdock, the Billings Senior head coach who led his team to an undefeated season and AA state title in 2016, will lead Team East.
At least one Flathead Valley native will man every position for the West, save for defensive line and safety.
Both quarterbacks for Arntson’s squad — Columbia Falls’ Dakota Bridwell and Polson’s Tanner Wilson — are from the area.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rocky Mountain College.
Team West routed Team East 45-14 in the 2016 edition of the Shrine Game and has now won three of the past four games in the series, but the East still maintains a 38-32 overall lead in the series.
The game’s Most Outstanding Player has hailed from the Flathead Valley in two of the past three years, including Whitefish’s Luke May in 2016. May scored four total touchdowns in the 70th playing of the Shrine game, which was held in Butte.
The Northwest also produced eight alternates for this year’s game, including three from Columbia Falls and two from Flathead.
71st Annual Montana
East-West Shrine Game
Matt Farrier — specialist
Dakota Bridwell — quarterback
Braxton Reiten — wide receiver
Trevor Hoerner — tight end
Sean Miller — cornerback
Zach Baker — defensive line (alternate)
Colten Bonny — defensive line (alternate)
Zak Karlin — offensive guard (alternate)
Cannan Smith — running back
Owen Davis — offensive guard
Joe Fehr — offensive guard (alternate)
James Flannigan — wide receiver (alternate)
Bridger Johnson — quarterback (alternate)
Jaxen Hashley — offensive tackle
Kellen Bemis — center
Pat O’Connell — inside linebacker
Tadan Gilman — outside linebacker
Jarrett Kesler — defensive end (alternate)
Tanner Wilson — quarterback
Matthew Rensvold — wide receiver
Travis Catina — inside linebacker
Tyler Cote — cornerback (alternate)