The Montana East-West Shrine Game has been a goal for young football players for over 60 years now. Since the inaugural high school all-star football game was played in 1947, thousands of athletes have earned the right to wear either the gold jerseys with red trim (east), or the red jersey with gold trim (west), some of those players playing in their last ever football game.
This year the Shrine game is set to take place on Saturday, with the kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Great Falls.
But leading up to kickoff, fans and players can take advantage of a lot of festivities. On Friday there will be an media day, as well as a VIP hospitality reception and player/cheerleader recognition banquet. And on Saturday there will be a cheerleaders camp, as well as a parade through downtown Great Falls at 11 a.m. Also on Saturday, there will be a family style tailgating party outside of Memorial Stadium from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., leading up to the games’ kickoff at 7 p.m.
The Shrine Game rosters are made up of the state’s best prep football players, as well as some of the state’s, or even nation’s, best athletes all together. This year it is no different, as several local athletes will play in one of the countries oldest all-star games.
Havre High had two athletes invited to play, including Joey DeVries as a center, and Casey Schaub as an inside linebacker. Schaub was also invited to play on the offensive side of the ball, and will be a fullback alternate. But the local talent pool wasn’t done being tapped with just two athletes, as Jorrell Jones and Ben Stroh were also chosen from the Chinook Sugarbeeters powerhouse squad. Jones will play as a guard, while Stroh was chosen
to play outside linebacker.
Chester/J-I’s Adam Fitzpatrick was also chosen to be a defensive lineman alternate for the East squad this year as was Harlem's Brandon Hammond, who is headed to play with DeVries for the Northern Lights this fall. Also earning an invite to cheer for the East squad was Kristie Hickman, a Blue Pony cheerleader.
While at the Shrine game, some athletes are asked to narrow their focus on the field, rather than play both sides of the ball like normally accustomed to.
Stroh was undoubtedly one of the top running backs in the Class B, as well as state, and was key in the Chinook Sugarbeeters’ state championship win two seasons ago. But his hard hitting style as a linebacker will be key if the East wants to defeat the West this year. Schaub is in the same boat. Schaub was one of the top running backs in the Class A the last two years, and helped the Blue Pony offense break a whole slew of MHSA state records with his legs and scoring ability. But his ability to lead the Ponies’ defense in tackles nearly every weekend will hold more weight this weekend as he looks to help stop a potents West offense. Jones and DeVries also played both sides of the ball on their respected high school squads.
The annual Shrine game brings in the top talent in the state year in and year out, and on Saturday four local athletes will face the ultimate test, as they attempt to help the East defeat the West. Kickoff for the oldest Shrine Game in the U.S. is at Memorial Stadium in Great Falls at 7 p.m.