GREAT FALLS– After winning the State B football title last fall, Ryder Meyer didn’t think he’d ever play for his dad Les again. In Ryder’s four years at Fairfield, the Eagles made four deep playoff runs, book-ended by state championships. Now, the father-son duo will get one last shot to go out on top together in the 73rd annual East-West Shrine Game on Saturday.
“I kind of thought it was almost over with my dad and I after the championship. Now that we get one more game together, it’s pretty exciting,” Ryder said.
Les was the East coach in the 2013 game with a different son, Tucker, on the roster. It’s not lost on him how significant it is to be able to do it again.
“You can’t even write that. And then to have that opportunity is pretty special,” Les said. “We don’t take it for granted, but I don’t think we realize it so much until after. And then you look back on it and think, ‘Holy cow, we got to do that.’”
Despite thinking it was over, Ryder held out hope his dad would get picked to lead this team.
“For some reason I just kind of had a gut feeling that he was going to. And then when I found out that he was, I was like, ‘We get to go one more time again.’ I was really excited for him and he was excited, too,” Ryder said. “He’s always amped up and brings a new energy to the field, so it’s been good.”
This game also gives the Meyers a chance to play one more game Fairfield-style, with three other Eagles — Dawson Allen, Derek Simmons and Walker Heckman — also on the East roster.
“Derek, Dawson, Walker and I have talked about playing in the Shrine Game together for years, and then to have this coaching staff here and get one more hoo-rah with them. Super special,” Ryder said.