When the 70th Annual Montana East-West Shrine Game kicks off in Butte next summer, as many as five players from the Mining City could be in uniform for the West team.
With Christmas morning comes the annual announcement of the Shrine Game rosters, and a handful of Butte players made the list.
Butte Central’s Kyle Schulte and Jake Michelotti made the West roster. Butte Central’s Cole Harper and Cal Hollow were named alternates along with Butte High’s Justin Peterson.
The game, which is one of the oldest all-star football games in the United States, will be played July 16 in the Mining City. The site of the game has not been announced.
Schulte (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) will play defensive end for the West. He is coming off a stellar season that saw him named Defensive Co-MVP of the Southwestern A. Schulte was named first-team All-State at defensive end and first-team all-conference at offensive tackle and second-team all-conference at punter.
Michelotti (6-0, 245) will play on the defensive line for the West. He earned All-State and first-team all-conference honors at defensive tackle in 2015. He was also a force on the BC offensive line.
Peterson (6-1, 200) made the alternate list as an outside linebacker. That comes after Peterson received an All-State honorable mention as a special teams player. He took home second-team recognition at the same position on the Eastern AA All-Conference team.
Harper (6-0, 170) is a receiver on the alternate list. Harper earned All-State accolades as a receiver. He also received first-team all-conference honors at receiver and second-team all-conference at cornerback.
Hollow (5-9, 170) is a safety on the alternate list. That is a position he received All-State honors at in 2015. Hollow also received first-team all-conference honors at safety and return specialist. As a receiver, he was named second-team all-conference.
Dillon, which came up just short in its quest for a third straight Class A state title, placed two players on the West roster in outside linebacker Kyle Finch and receiver Nate Simkins.
Dillon Beavers Nick Huber (defensive end), Payton LaFrentz (receiver) and Mark Waldrop (center) were named alternates.
Anaconda inside linebacker Sean Gallagher also made the West squad as an alternate.
Other area athletes to make the West roster include Boulder’s Trace Letexier (inside linebacker) and Jared Padmos (safety), Twin Bridges’ Tracen Eggers (receiver) and Ennis’ Dustin Wham (guard). Flint Creek’s Brad Holland (running back), Deer Lodge’s Mitchell Odden (defensive end) and Boulder’s Nick Winfield (running back) were named alternates.
Chad Ross, the head coach of Class A state champion Whitefish, will be the head coach of the West team. He has been with the Whitefish program for 17 years, the last seven as the head coach.
Ross played college football at the University of Arizona from 1990-94, helping his team to the Pac-10 championship and a Fiesta Bowl win over Miami.
Former Butte Central assistant coach Mike Ludwig, the head coach at Laurel, will lead the East. Ludwig has been the head coach in Laurel since 2002. He coached at BC from 1993-97. This will be Ludwig’s first opportunity to lead the East after serving as an assistant two times.
Ludwig will get the chance to coach his son Connor, an All-State safety who was unanimously selected to play in the game.
The players were nominated by their schools and coaches across the state before finally being selected as the “best of the best.”
Three Butte players missed out on a chance to play in the game because of injuries after having a junior season worthy of all-star recognition. Butte High quarterback Dylan Cook, Bulldog receiver Paul Campbell and Butte Central running back/defensive end Kyle Harrington went down with season-ending injuries in the first game of the season, and thus were not considered for the game.
The Montana East-West Shrine Game, which dates back to 1947, has raised more than $400,000 over the past six years. That money goes to the Shiners Hospital for Children in Spokane.
The 2016 game will be played in Butte for just third time. It was played at Bulldog Memorial Stadium in 2010. Three years later, the game was played in Naranche Stadium.