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East team gearing up for Shrine Game with tough practice schedule

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Jun 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-13 19:27:23-04

GREAT FALLS — The East team has gone through two full practice days as it continues to prepare for Saturday’s game in Butte. The all-time series currently is in favor of the East, but the last two years have been dominated by the West team.

As it looks to turn things around this year, the East has been practicing three times per day.

“We’re working hard right now. These three-a-days are not slight. It’s really hard, we’re all tired, but we are getting it in day after day,” said Billings Central’s Travis Hadley. “We’re working hard, we’re progressing, and becoming a team.”

Head coach Derek Lear has been emphasizing that the team focus on building its chemistry off the field as well.

“We’ve been big this week on team family. Having these guys learn backstories of each other and just become a brother hood this week and they’ve been doing a good job of that,” said Lear.

The Shrine game is what a lot of these players have looked forward to since they began playing football. It brings them tons of excitement and for most of the players, new experiences. Bozeman’s Luke Smith is a three-sport athlete but the Shrine game is the first time he will be playing in an all-star game. He will be joined by four of his teammates as they get to experience it all together.

Some players do not get the enjoyment of experiencing this with their school teammates, but they still enjoy the honor of being selected to play and represent their school.

“There was a bunch of kids on my team that were pretty great athletes too,” said Sidney’s Zander Dean. “But it was a really good honor to be chosen to play in this game.”

The team will continue to prepare throughout the week and we will have more features leading up to Saturday’s kickoff at Naranche Stadium in Butte.