Drummond’s Danny Mannix ready to close prep career in style

The injury still haunts Danny Mannix more than six months later.

Mannix was a star on offense and defense for the undefeated Flint Creek Titans. As the Titans, a co-op team from Drummond and Philipsburg, were beating Arlee in a matchup of undefeated teams late in the season, Mannix suffered a season-ending injury.

His collarbone was broken badly enough that the injury required surgery.

“My last game was a rude awakening, and I didn’t like it at all,” Mannix says. “I have nightmares about it.”

So, as the Titans suffered an upset loss to Belt in the first round of the State Class C 8-Man playoffs, all Mannix could do was watch hopelessly.

That, however, wasn’t the last high school football game that Mannix got to be a part of, however.

He was selected to play in the Bob Cleverley All-Star Football Game and the Montana East-West Shrine Game, giving him a chance to close out his prep career on a high note.

The Shrine Game is July 18 in Great Falls.

The Cleverley is Saturday night at Montana Tech’s Alumni Coliseum. Mannix is one of three Montana Tech signees who will suit up in the 32nd rendition of the game.

On Saturday, Mannix will play for the Blue team, which will be made up stars from the East and West conferences. Great Falls Central’s Reed Nelson and Ennis’ Wylie Leo are future Orediggers who will play for the Red team, which is made up of players from the North and South.

Mannix had the chance to watch the prestigious game, which is being played in Butte for the 26th straight year, dating back to when his older brother Neil played in the game.

Neil Mannix played quarterback at Drummond. He was a member of 2007 and 2009 State championship teams.

“It’s an honor,” Danny Mannix said of playing in the game that is affectionately known as “The Clev.” “There’s a bunch of guys here. We’re all All-Stars and we’re good at what we’re doing. It’s fun to get out here and get together with them.”

Playing in this game has been on Mannix’s mind for some time.

“It was kind of an expectation” Mannix said after a Tuesday practice on the Bob Green Field. “If I did what I knew I could do I knew I would make it. Now I’m just pleased to be here and healthy. I’m excited about it.”

Mannix will play middle linebacker and running back/slot receiver for the Blue team. Those are two spots Mannix excelled at for the Drummond Trojans and then the Titans.

Mannix was named the Western Division Class C Offensive MVP last season. He was selected All-State three times on both sides of the ball.

He earned All-State honors at middle linebacker and safety. He will begin his career at Montana Tech as a safety.

“I figure I’ll start with that, see how it goes and see how I develop,” said Mannix, who will likely redshirt during his first year at Tech. “That gives me time to get stronger and get some experience under my belt.”

Playing alongside players he used to call rivals for The Clev, the Shrine Game and then for the Orediggers will be nothing new for Mannix.

He did that last year when the Drummond Trojans combined with the Granite High Prospectors to form the Flint Creek Titans.

The team played home games in Drummond and Philipsburg. They alternated practices from town to town.

That had to be an adjustment because Philipsburg and Drummond have long been arch rivals. Beating the Prospectors was one of the top goals for the Trojans every year.

Merging the Trojans and Prospectors was kind of like pairing the Hatfields with the McCoys.

“No. 1 was to make the playoffs, No. 2 was to beat P-burg,” Mannix said. “It was a change of mentality because I never lost to them, in football at least.”

Joining Mannix on the Blue team will be Flint Creek teammates Tony Bergerson, Bob Immenschuh and Chase Cummings. The head coach of the Blue team is Jim Oberweiser, the long-time Drummond head coach who took over the helm of the Titans in Year 1.

“We had two totally different schemes that we ran on offense and defense,” Mannix said of playing for the Titans. “It was a lot of molding of personalities. The guys were a lot different than I was used to playing with in Drummond. It was a good growing year.”

The practices in Philipsburg made for a long haul for Mannix. He comes from a large family in Helmville, which is about 21 miles up Highway 271 from Drummond. Philipsburg is 27 miles south of Drummond.

“Practice every other week was an hour drive home, so you get some miles in,” Mannix said.

A 4.0 student and the valedictorian of the Drummond High School Class of 2015, Mannix also competed in track. He just missed placing in the 400-meter race at the Class C State meet in Laurel.

As a sophomore he placed sixth in the high jump.

Mannix, an All-State basketball player, rebounded from his broken collarbone in time to have a solid senior basketball season. That earned him a spot on the Treasure State team in the Southwest Montana All-Star Basketball Classic at the Maroon Activities Center.

In front of a large crowd at the MAC, Mannix hit 4 of 7 shots from 3-point range and scored a game-high 22 points in the Treasure State’s 101-84 victory over Big Sky.

“I had a good game,” Mannix said with a smile. “I hit some threes.”

The game gave Mannix the chance to close his prep basketball career with a bang.

Now he’s hoping to do the same in football before heading on to a career on the college gridiron.

“I’ll go out and make a name for myself,” he said. “Or at least try to.”