BILLINGS -- Red Lodge's John Fitzgerald and Missoula Sentinel's Dane Oliver have been selected to lead Montana's top high school football seniors in the 74th annual Montana East-West Shrine Game, which is scheduled for June 19, 2021 in Billings.
Fitzgerald is the head coach of the East, while Oliver will guide the West. Both coaches have assisted in Montana's East-West Shrine Game, but 2021 marks the first time they will be head coaches in the all-star contest.
The Montana East-West Shrine Game is one of the oldest high school all-star football games in the country, with some of Montana's finest athletes competing in the game every summer since 1947, though last year's contest was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The game raises money and awareness for the "expert orthopedic and burn care available at the Shriner's Hospital for Children in Spokane, Washington," according to a Shrine Game media release. "Expert care is provided regardless of the family's ability to pay," the release proudly continued. "In the last 10 years, this game has raised nearly $1,000,000."
Fitzgerald, a native of Columbus who competed in the 1997 Shrine Game, was selected as the East coach for the second year in a row, after missing the opportunity last summer due to COVID-19 concerns. The former Montana Grizzly player began his coaching career in 2002 in Cut Bank and is now in his second stint as coach in Red Lodge. The Rams earned the No. 1 seed from the Eastern B this fall, but fell in the opening round of the Class B playoffs.
Three Rams players were selected to join Fitzgerald this summer: running back Jay Jetmore, tight end Elijah Reynolds and offensive tackle Corby Mann.
Class A champion Laurel is well represented on the East roster, with four Locomotives picked to play in the prestigious game. Receiver Jack Waddell, tackle Connor Ulshak, linebacker James Ochs and safety Eli Aby will have the opportunity to represent the Locos in the 74th playing of the all-star game.
Colt Miller of 6-Man state champion Froid-Medicine Lake is an alternate for the East.
Oliver, a Monmouth, Oregon native, led Sentinel to its first Class AA football championship in nearly 50 years. He and Fitzgerald were teammates on the University of Montana's 2001 national championship football team. Oliver started his coaching career at Seeley-Swan before joining the staff at Sentinel, where he has been head coach for nine seasons.
Five of Oliver's players are represented on the West roster: quarterback Dayton Bay, safety Jace Klucewich, linebackers Geno Leonard and Soren Syvrud, as well as guard Dylan Rollins. Six more Spartans were selected as alternates for the West.
Class B state champion Manhattan earned four nods, with Tate Bowler (cornerback), Gabriel Delgatty (defensive end), Caden Holgate (safety) and Toby Veltkamp (linebacker) selected to represent the Tigers.
Quarterback Kade Cutler was 8-Man champion Drummond-Philipsburg's lone selection, though linebacker Preston Metesh is an alternate for the Titans.
The rosters for the 74th annual Montana East-West Shrine Game are below.
Head coach — John Fitzgerald, Red Lodge.
Quarterbacks — Carson Hunter, Miles City; Marcus Wittman, Billings Central.
Running backs — Jay Jetmore, Red Lodge; Jaymen Medlock, Billings West; Brock Ping, Billings Central.
Wide receivers — Ben Britton, St. Marys (Calgary); Jacksen Burckley, Billings Senior; Gavin Mills, Fairfield; Jayden Venable, Miles City; Jack Waddell, Laurel.
Tight ends — Sloan McPherson, Savage; Elijah Reynolds, Red Lodge.
Offensive tackles — Jesse Chapweske, Miles City; Corby Mann, Red Lodge; Connor Ulshak, Laurel.
Offensive guards — John Brown, Bozeman High; Jaydn Hoff, Billings West; Pierce Mortenson, Malta.
Offensive centers — Kolter Bouma, Fairfield; Camren Spencer, Bozeman High.
Defensive ends — Paul Brott, Billings West; Kellen Detrick, Havre; Kenneth Eiden IV, Bozeman High; Luke Fedyk, Bozeman High.
Defensive linemen — JaQuawhann Booth, Billings Central; Ethan DeRoche, Great Falls High; Mayson Phipps, Glasgow; Brody Skogen, Sidney.
Inside linebackers — James Ochs, Laurel; Brooks Talbot, Bozeman High.
Outside linebackers — Neil Daily, Billings West; Derek Damjanovich, Billings Central; Jace Thompson, Fort Benton; Riley Waters, Sidney.
Cornerbacks — Junior Bergen, Billings Senior; Levi Torgerson, Great Falls High; William Ullery, Fort Benton.
Safeties — Eli Aby, Laurel; Kaimen Evans, Belt; Johnnie McClusky, Billings Senior; Conor Murray, Fairfield.
Running backs — Keaton Potter, Lewistown; Kade Strutz, Big Sandy.
Wide receivers — Jaxson Franklin, Sidney; Padraig Lang, Bozeman High; Tucker MacBeth, Bozeman High; Cedrick Miller Jr., Belgrade.
Tight ends — Colt Miller, Froid-Medicine Lake.
Offensive tackles — Carson Lunax, Havre.
Offensive guards — Jackson Appley, Shelby; Ben Kessler, Park City.
Offensive centers — Thomas Klepps, Billings Senior.
Defensive ends — Colter Bales, Laurel; Preston Nitschke-Love, Great Falls Central; Beau Simonson, Malta.
Defensive linemen — Andrew Altschwager, Great Falls CMR.
Inside linebackers — Landon Farr, Lewistown; Tucker Johnstone, Park City; Dylan Nieskens, Glasgow; Jackson Willems, Billings Skyview.
Outside linebackers — Rylin Burns, Colstrip; Alex Casas, Belgrade; Hunter Dare, Huntley Project.
Cornerbacks — Sam Jacobsen, Billings Senior; Garrett Zimdars, Park City.
Safeties — Payton Gonser, Great Falls High; Aidan Jenkins, Shields Valley; Brady Lang, Bozeman High.
Specialists — Camden Capser, Billings Central.
Head coach — Dane Oliver, Missoula Sentinel.
Quarterbacks — Dayton Bay, Missoula Sentinel; Kade Cutler, Drummond-Philipsburg.
Running backs — Cormac Benn, Bigfork; Gunnar Smith, Eureka.
Wide receivers — Jaiden Klemundt, Hamilton; Flint Smith, Whitehall; Dexter Tedesco, Helena High; Cole Truman, Dillon.
Tight ends — Zach Evans, Helena High; Jake Olson, Butte High.
Offensive tackles — Rocco Beccari, Kalispell Glacier; Tyler Burrows, Hamilton; Judson Seliskar, Helena High.
Offensive guards — Ty Raiha, Butte High; Dylan Rollins, Missoula Sentinel; Hudson Vegeron, Hamilton; Stevie Wilkinson, Columbia Falls.
Offensive centers — Wade Leachman, Townsend; Duncan Richardson, Frenchtown.
Defensive ends — Gabriel Delgatty, Manhattan; Tyler Little, Helena Capital; Camren Ross, Whitefish; Dylan Smith, Whitehall.
Defensive linemen — Luke Benson, Bigfork; Zeke Ellis, Dillon; Bryan Holland, Butte Central.
Inside linebackers — Tel Arthur, Frenchtown; Carter Lake, Hamilton; Geno Leonard, Missoula Sentinel; Owen Porcu, Notre Dame (Calgary).
Outside linebackers — Soren Syvrud, Missoula Sentinel; Toby Veltkamp, Manhattan; Chayton Winkle, Helena Capital.
Cornerbacks — Tate Bowler, Manhattan; David Lowry, Helena High.
Safeties — Jace Fitzgerald, Dillon; Caden Holgate, Manhattan; Michael Hupp, Dillon; Jace Klucewich, Missoula Sentinel.
Specialists — Colter Janacaro, Missoula Big Sky; Ben Swanson, Helena High.
Quarterback — Camden Sirmon, Missoula Sentinel.
Running backs — Christian Vetter, Butte.
Wide receivers — Haiden Crews, Missoula Sentinel; Brandon Finley, Frenchtown; Jonny Reiser, Dillon.
Tight ends — Ethan Diede, Kalispell Glacier.
Offensive tackles — Zach Hangas, Missoula Sentinel.
Offensive centers — DJ Jackson, Butte.
Defensive ends — Aiden Lee, Butte High.
Defensive lineman — Daniel Difort, Missoula Sentinel.
Inside linebackers — Lucas Thacker, Columbia Falls.
Outside linebackers — Shawn Huseby, Missoula Big Sky; Preston Metesh, Drummond-Philipsburg; Ryker McElmurry, Libby.
Cornerbacks — Daxon Graham, Dillon; Christian Hansen, Butte High; TJ Rausch, Missoula Sentinel; Brayden Terzo, Missoula Hellgate.
Safeties — Egan Lester, Butte High; Donovan South, Missoula Sentinel.
Specialists — Niels Getts, Columbia Falls.