He can't wait to get into The Brawl
Kellen Detrick's great Blue Pony football career is over. Soon though, he'll fulfill another dream, suiting up for the Griz
Last updated 11/20/2020 at 9:24am
Growing up in Montana, many kids dream of playing in the Cat-Griz game someday. They can't help it. It's just what kids do around here. After all, in Montana, the Bobcats and Grizzlies, they are the biggest of big-times.
Dreams of course, don't always come true. But when they do, when those dreams are realized, it's life-changing.
Havre High senior Kellen Detrick once dreamed of playing in the Cat-Griz game. And while he's still a Blue Pony, and, there will be no Brawl of the Wild in 2020, Detrick's dream will eventually come true. Last summer, the three-star HHS defensive end announced his commitment to the Montana Grizzlies, before embarking on his senior year of Blue Pony football.
Now, with that season behind him, Detrick will soon sign his letter of intent to play for the Griz and head coach Bobby Hauck, and that will eventually lead him to his own chance to play in Montana's Super Bowl - otherwise known as the Cat-Griz game.
"I cannot wait to play in a Griz-Cat game," Detrick said. "When they play each other it seems as if the entire state stops to watch that game, which is incredible. I've been watching that game on TV my whole life, and it's crazy to think I will be playing in it. It is a very big rivalry and I can't wait to be a part if it."
Indeed. Like so many young Montanans, Detrick has grown up wanting to be a part of the rivalry. But, before he could make that dream come true, he followed another one - playing football for the Blue Ponies.
That's rtight, when youngsters grow up in Havre, they dream of Friday night's at Blue Pony Stadium. On playgrounds, in backyards and in parks, anytime kids play pickup football in Havre, they think of themselves as Blue Ponies. And they can't wait for their chance to play in Havre on Friday nights.
That's what Detrick has done for the last four years. A four-year starter for head coach Ryan Gatch, Detrick has earned about every accolade a player can. He's been All-Conference four times, and is about to be named Class A All-State yet again. He'll certainly be a lock to be a pick for the Shrine Game this summer, and, through his hard work and dedication, he's been a force for the Ponies from start to finish.
And finish he did. Havre had a tough season on the gridiron this fall, but Detrick never wavered. Instead, he battled. Starring as expected on defense, scoring touchdowns as a running back, and showing his leadership as a force on special teams as well, Detrick did what so many top players do at small schools, he dominated all over the field, and at many different positions.
In other words, Detrick was projected to be one of Montana's top high school seniors in football this fall, regardless of classification, and he delivered.
"We didn't have the season we wanted to this year, but I feel like there were some bright spots," he said. "We have some talented kids and they are going to be in good hands with our coaching staff. I believe they will do good things in the years to come.
"As for me, I felt like I did OK on offense and defense," he added. "Offense was a bit of a roller coster for me with playing so many different positions, but I liked it. All in all I feel like I played good this year, but I still have a lot to work on. I'm nowhere close to where I would like to be."
The last sentence isn't surprising. Because, Detrick has cultivated an insane work ethic. He's driven to excel and harness his immense potential. He's known as a freak in the weight room, his workouts have become legendary in Havre, and he says, he'll continue to push himself, preparing for the day when he becomes a Grizzly football player.
"In the offseason I do lots of weight training, conditioning, footwork, and speed and agility," he said. "Lifting weights is one of my favorite things to do. I could spend all day in the weight room. I love the feeling you get when you feel like you are improving yourself athletically."
Of course, the offseason isn't exactly the offseason for the two-sport star. While football is over until he heads off to Missoula to start his college career, basketball season is right around the corner. And the 6-3, 225-pounder is every bit the star on the hardwood as he is on the football field.
For the last two seasons, Detrick has averaged double-figures in scoring for the Ponies, of head coach Walynn Burgess. He's been so good in fact, he's garnered interest from Frontier Conference basketball programs, alongside all the interest he got from football programs, including the Griz, the Bobcats, Northern Arizona, North Dakota State, and more.
As it stands, though, this winter will be Detrick's last season of competitive basketball, and he says he's pumped to help the Ponies do big things.
"I'm super excited to lace up the basketball shoes for one last go-around," he said. "It's going to be emotional for me because basketball was my first love, and I have a ton of respect for the game. I believe we should be pretty good this year. We have quite a bit of talent all around our roster. We also have the best basketball coach in the state. Overall I think it should be a good year for us."
It will be a good year for the Ponies, and it will end up being an emotional one for Detrick. Because when hoops is done, it will be almost time to say goodbye to being a Blue Pony. And just being a Blue Pony has meant so much to the Havre phenom.
"Being able to be a Blue Pony was truly a blessing," I've made so many memories here with so many different people. It's crazy how fast it went. I can think of many things I'm going to miss about high school. For example, hanging out with my friends, my teachers, going hunting, going to get Subway with my dad before a football game - it's safe to say I'm going to miss it all. The one thing I'm going to miss most, though, is Friday night lights."
All Blue Ponies, all high school players actually, they all will miss Friday Night Lights, and Detrick will be no different. High school football is special, and it's especially special at Havre High.
But only a select few get to go on and keep playing, a select few get to play on Saturday's and, because he worked so hard, because he chased his dreams, Kellen Detrick is going to play on Saturday's, and he'll get to do it in the uniform of the program he grew up wanting to play for the most, while also following in his father Keno's footsteps, as he was an NAIA All-American for the MSU-Northern Lights once upon a time.
"I cannot wait to be a Griz. I am beyond excited," Detrick said. "I'm looking forward to starting that next chapter of my life. Hopefully I can make Havre proud, but one thing that I cannot wait to do, though, is run out of that tunnel in Washington Grizzly Stadium to a sold out crowd of 25,000-plus people. That'll be a crazy first experience. Outside of football it'll be fun meeting new people and making new friends that are from all over the country."
No doubt. Every game a native Montanan plays inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium is special. Just ask Marc Mariani, who Detrick certainly grew up watching, when he was a Blue Pony playing for the Griz. But even more special is the Cat-Griz game itself. That's something only those who have played in it can truly desrcibe, and now Kellen Detrick is one step closer to finding out what it's like to play in the great rivalry game for himself.
And he can't wait.
"I loved the atmosphere on game day the most," Detrick said. "Griz fans are some of the most dedicated fans in the nation. As for the rivalry, I love how much hate there is towards each other. I think it makes the game so much more competitive and it brings out the best in each team."
There won't be that feeling this Saturday, when Cat-Griz was supposed to happen. COVID-19 saw to to that. But, the game will be back, and someday very soon, Havre's own Kellen Detrick will be playing in that game.
Dreams, as they say, really do come true.