The #MTTop40, MTN Sports’ list profiling some of Montana’s best football players, started on July 2 with the defensive backs. We then moved through the defensive line and linebackers before tackling the offense, where we featured the linemen, tight ends, wide receivers, running backs and, finally, quarterbacks.
No position on a football field has evolved over the years more than quarterback. Guys like Bob O’Billovich, John Leister, Ty Paine and Gary Fox — let alone Bill Kelly — played in a different era than modern-day passers. Paul Petrino put up gaudy numbers as a run-first option at Carroll College; Brock Osweiler is still clinging to an NFL career; Tyler Emmert had a historical career in both high school and college; Ryan Leaf was as talented as any player ever to come out of Montana; and Dave Dickenson has epitomized what it meant to be a quarterback.
Beyond those standouts, though, Montana has produced further greats, which brings us to the #MTTop40 honorable mention quarterbacks.
#MTTop40 quarterback honorable mentions
Tom Corontzos, Great Falls High
A standout basketball and football player in the 1980s, Corontzos played both sports his freshman year at the University of Wyoming. He had a sensational career on the football field, though, leaving as the program’s career leader in yards (7,945) and touchdowns (48) in 1991.
Mark Desin, Billings Senior
Desin was one of the best high school quarterbacks in Montana history, passing for 8,907 yards and 64 touchdowns during his career at Billings Senior, according to the Montana High School Association record book. He spent time playing quarterback, receiver and cornerback at Montana State before transferring to Rocky Mountain College for his senior season.
John Edwards, Billings West
The 1997 Montana Gatorade player of the year, Edwards helped lead Billings West to the Class AA state championship before a standout career at Montana, where he passed for 6,704 yards and 46 touchdowns during his career. The Grizzlies went 26-4 in Edwards’ two starting seasons, winning the FCS national championship in 2001.
Mike Reilly, Kalispell Flathead
After transferring from Washington, Reilly passed for more than 2,200 yards during his senior season at Kalispell Flathead. Reilly had a standout college career at Central Washington, bounced around the NFL in 2009, and has become a star in the CFL, leading the Edmonton Eskimos to the 2015 Grey Cup.
Tanner Roderick, Bozeman
Roderick had one of the most prolific senior years in Montana high school sports history, winning the Gatorade player of the year in both football and basketball. On the gridiron, Roderick led Class AA in rushing with 1,913 yards and 23 touchdowns and passed for another 2,457 yards and 28 scores in leading Bozeman to a 13-0 season in 2010.