BILLINGS – Dozens of high school football careers officially end on Saturday with your East-West Shrine Game but for one duo, it’s a special conclusion.
You can’t script it any better. Dad’s first chance as the Shrine Game head coach. Son’s final game in the sport he’s grown up loving. It’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face – except maybe the Ludwigs.
“It’s a little sad for me,” said Mike Ludwig, Laurel head football coach and coach of the East Shrine Team this weekend.
“Now that this is going to be my final game, it’s a really weird feeling,” said Mike’s son Connor, a safety on the East Team.
But don’t be fooled. They’ll soak up every ounce.
“I’m just glad that he’s out here, that I get to be with him one more time, for another week, and spend some time with him and watch him play football,” Mike said. “That’s probably the biggest thing is I get to watch him in one more football game.”
“One last game with him as head coach – I mean, he’s been my coach since I’ve been in middle school,” said Connor. “To have him as my coach for this game is awesome.”
Tomorrow night, if the two find each other over dinner, they know exactly what the topic of conversation will be.
“During football season, at dinner, it’s always about football – how practice went that day, what’s practice gonna be like the next day,” said Connor. “And then, even off-season it’s usually about football too – getting ready for the next season and everything in between.”
Dad though, remembers the winter dinners a little differently.
“Probably was wrestling more than football I would say,” Mike said. “And when you talk about dinner conversation, dinner was always a conversation because it was always between me and my wife, ”What are we going to eat?’ cause we have to eat kinda healthy. I don’t know many times that I probably asked him ‘How’s your weight? How’s your weight?’”
“He always cooks good dinners during wrestling season,” added Connor. “He’s pretty good at that. My sister doesn’t like it. She has to eat all the healthy food that we have to put up with, but it’s alright!”
Sister Taylor still has a year to go. Father and son – just two days to finish that perfect script.