The annual Cat-Griz rivalry game resonates with almost every nook and cranny in Montana.
Havre is no different. On Saturday, Havre will be divided like most parts of the state when it comes to the 111th “Brawl of the Wild in Bozeman. From my experiences, Havre is neither a Bobcat nor a Grizzly town – it’s both. Havre is a big enough city in Montana that one fan base doesn’t seem to dominate the other. And the annual showdown between the Cats and Griz brings out fans from both sides of Montana’s own civil war.
So, as always, we decided to poll fans on both sides of the game on who they think will win, and why they cheer for and care about the team they do.
Here’s a look at how eight different Havre residents see Saturday’s Cat-Griz game turning out.
Lamey is a longtime Grizzly fan and a historian of sorts when it comes to the Cat-Griz rivalry. A fine all-around athlete himself, Lamey has seen many different versions of the Cat-Griz game over the years, yet his loyalty to Montana has never wavered.
“The Cats look like the Griz used to when they had Dave Dickinson,” Lamey said. “I think that the weather will have something to do with it, from what I understand the weekend isn’t supposed to be too good. I look for it to be a closer game that I thought earlier in the year, but I predict that the Griz will win. It should be a good, close game.”
Prediction: Griz 24, Cats 21.
From the Hi-Line and now a Havre resident and an employee of Korb Construction, Foster has “always” been a Cat fan. He went to Montana State for a couple years before returning home to take over the family farm. He says all his friends in junior high loved the Griz so he started rooting for the Cats to be different.
“I know it is going to be a tale of two halves and closer than people may think," Foster said. "But I do think the Cats will pull it off. I think whoever does better on special teams will win the war.”
Prediction: Cats 34, Griz 21
Havre High senior quarterback Justin Jensen is coming off a phenomenal year for the Havre Blue Ponies. But he hasn’t been too busy to pick a side in Saturday’s rivalry. Jensen says he’s been to both Cat and Griz games in the past and found the Griz games to have a much better atmosphere and a lot more fun than the Cats. That’s what got him started cheering for the Griz.
“The Griz have been the better team most of the time, but I also liked watching Marc Mariani," Jensen said, "This is a tough one, I want the Griz to win, so I am going to say the Griz win it.”
Prediction: Griz 36, Cats 30
Another Havre High senior, Grisak is an aspiring sports writer so one day he’ll have to put his fandom aside. But for now, the Blue Pony tennis player, who has also participated in school plays at HHS is a die-hard Bobcat fan. Grisak says he’s been a Cat fan for over eight years and all his family roots for the Cats. He too thinks MSU will win on Saturday.
“The Cats should win it 24-16,” Grisak said.
Prediction: Cats 24, Griz 16
A teacher at St. Judes school, Carrie Kato sees both sides of the rivalry. Her husband Jim is a diehard MSU fan and a MSU graduate. Kato on the other hand, spent a couple of years going to school in Missoula at the University of Montana. Her father, Dick Scharfe also lives in Missoula is a big Grizzly fan so that is why she has been a fan.
“I am afraid of what my prediction is because I am a Griz fan," Kato said. "I am a little nervous this year and even though I want the Griz to win, I am happy with whichever Montana team wins.”
Prediction: A team from Montana will win
Austin is a fifth-grader at Sunnyside School in Havre. And he’s a product of the young generations that has embraced this rivalry. He can be seen wearing his Bobcat jersey quite often and makes no bones about where his loyalties lie. He says his entire family likes the Cats. Some relatives live in Bozeman and has an uncle, former Havre Blue Pony Brent Zanto that is a huge Cat’s fan. Austin says he loves to watch the Cats games and always watches the Cat-Griz game.
“I think the Bobcats will win it," Delarosa said. "The Griz are going to get whooped by the quarterback (Denarius McGhee).”
Prediction: Cats 40, Griz 10
Montana State University-Northern head women’s basketball coach Chris Mouat is a UM grad, a big Griz fan and very knowledgeable about the rivalry. He says he is a fan because he went to school in Missoula and had a lot of fun watching the games. He had a lot of good friends who played for Griz and says it was always fun to watch them
“I became a Grizzlies fan before attending the college, but those certainly became some of the better times of my life, getting to watch some of my close friends play.," Mouat said. "Some kids I have coached in the past have also gone on to play for the Griz and have become great football players which is fun to watch. I have to go with the Griz. 30-27.”
Prediction: Griz 30, Cats 27
Max Erickson, affectionately known as “Big Max” is a lifelong Bobcat fan, an important member of the Bobcat family, a 1973 graduate of MSU, and his son Michael Erickson, a former Havre High standout, played for the Bobcats recently and has extensive experience with the rivalry.
“I think it is going to be a cold, windy afternoon filled with excitement," Erickson said. "There is going to be a flag the size of the football field presented which will be awesome and I think the Bobcats will win a close game on a late field goal by Jason Cunningham.”
Prediction: Cats 31, Griz 28