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Dante Olson, Samori Toure highlight Montana Grizzlies annual football awards banquet

Posted: 10:37 AM, Nov 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-25 12:37:16-05
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(Editor's note: University of Montana athletics release)

MISSOULA -- Montana head coach Bobby Hauck and his staff presented his team's six positional awards and two scout team awards Sunday at the Grizzlies' annual end of season awards banquet, held at the DoubleTree hotel in Missoula.

After a team-wide vote, three honorees were chosen for positional awards, and three awards were presented for "most inspirational player," "hardest hitter," and the "player who best exemplifies Griz football." Also presented were the Scout Team Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

The team will vote once again at the end of the season for Montana's premier annual awards: The Offensive and Defensive MVP, the Hauck Family Special Teams Player of the Year, and the Steve Carlson Team MVP award.

In the positional awards, junior Samori Toure took home the Terry Dillon Award that is presented to the team's outstanding back or receivers. Toure has hauled in 10 touchdown passes and a team-best 1107 receiving yards so far this season, currently the seventh-most in UM history.

Senior center Cy Sirmon was presented with the Paul Weskamp award that goes to the team's outstanding offensive lineman. Sirmon has been a key component in Montana's improved offensive line and rushing game in 2019, having moved to center in the offseason to finish his career having played four different positions.

The Larry Miller Award for outstanding defensive lineman went to No. 37 Jesse Sims for a second-straight season. Sims excelled as on the interior defensive line as the team's sixth-leading tackler with 46 stops this year.

The Tony Barbour Award for the player who "who best exemplifies outstanding practice habits and makes an unselfish contribution to the betterment of the Grizzly Football Team" actually went to three players this season, and all three are from the defensive side of the ball.

Senior defensive end Vika Fa'atuiese, safety Josh Sandry, and cornerback Kobey Eaton were all presented with the Barbour award after long careers in maroon and silver.

Similarly, this year's Pat Norwood Award for the team's "most inspirational" player went to offensive lineman Angel Villanueva, who battled back from injury to reclaim a starting position as a senior.

Fans who have watched will not be surprised to hear that record-breaking senior linebacker Dante Olson earned the Golden Helmet Award as the team's hardest hitter. Olson tied his own school record again in 2019 with an FCS-best 151 tackles in the regular season. He now needs just 25 more tackles in the postseason to become UM's leading tackler of all time.

Two future stars of Griz football were also honored with the Offensive and Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year awards.

High school quarterback-turned-linebacker Kale Edwards of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, was presented with the Defensive award, while receiver Jesse Owens of Billings West earned offensive honors.

Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year

  • Kale Edwards

Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year

  • Jesse Owens

Terry Dillon Award
Honoring the outstanding back or receiver – was established in 1964 following the accidental death of former Grizzly Terry Dillon.

  • Samori Toure

Tony Barbour Award
Given in memory of a loyal Grizzly Fan. It is presented annually to a UM player "who best exemplifies outstanding practice habits and makes an unselfish contribution to the betterment of the Grizzly Football Team."

  • Vika Fa'atuiese
  • Josh Sandry
  • Kobey Eaton

Paul Weskamp Award
Established in memory of Paul Weskamp, a tackle on Ed Chinske's 1954 Grizzly Team. The award honors UM's outstanding offensive lineman and was established by citizens of Ronan.

  • Cy Sirmon

Larry Miller Award
In memory of the great Grizzly defensive lineman and wrestler who was an All-American for UM in 1969 and 1970. Miller died in an automobile accident in 1974.

  • Jesse Sims

Golden Helmet Award
Honors the hardest hitter on the team. It was set up on a nation-wide basis by Coca-Cola in 1967.

  • Dante Olson

Pat Norwood Award
Pat Norwood was a four-year starter at offensive tackle for the Grizzlies (1979-82) from Billings who died of cancer in 1983. This award is given to the most inspirational player, who oftentimes had to overcome an injury.

  • Angel Villanueva