BILLINGS — Nate Dick had a hand in four touchdowns to help the East Team to a 38-24 win in the 71st annual Montana East-West Shrine Game at Herb Klindt Field on the campus of Rocky Mountain College.
Dick, who was named Montana’s Gatorade player of the year after leading Billings Senior to the Class AA state championship last fall, passed for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to ice the game. He started his big day with a patented Dick touchdown, eluding rushing defenders and heaving a pass to the back of the end zone. Bailey Paddock of Bozeman High came down with the ball just inside the back end line to put six points on the board for the East Team early in the first quarter.
The West Team actually started the fireworks, though. Ryan Arntson, the former Helena High running back, broke a long run on the game’s first play from scrimmage to set up an easy touchdown run for Polson’s Tanner Wilson, who will continue his career at the University of Montana. Wilson added a beautiful 55-yard passing touchdown to fellow Griz signee Mitch Roberts of Missoula Sentinel in the second half.
But the big moments belonged to Dick, who took home the Roger Silvernale Memorial Trophy, given annually to the game’s most outstanding player. Dick also had touchdown passes to former Senior teammate Keaton Anderson, who also caught a touchdown pass from Bozeman quarterback Callahan O’Reilly, and Chandler Allen of Fairfield.
The two teams traded blows in the first half, with the West leading 14-9 at the end of the first quarter and the East back in front 16-14 at halftime. They exchanged touchdowns in the third quarter, and the West took a brief lead early in the fourth on a long field goal from Kalispell Glacier’s Patrick O’Connell.
Dick, though, found Anderson for the go-ahead touchdown with 5 minutes, 29 seconds remaining in the game and then iced it with his 23-yard scamper with 1:10 to go.
Paddock was named the East Team’s offensive MVP, and Michael McGinnis of Sidney took home the defensive MVP honors. Marcus Welnel, the former Helena Capital linebacker, was the West Team’s defensive MVP, and Polson’s Matthew Rensvold earned the West Team’s offensive MVP honors.
The East now leads the all-time series 39 wins to 32.