Marcus Ferriter embraces role on West offensive line

When the rosters for the 69th Montana East-West Shrine Game were unveiled on Christmas morning, the happiest guys in the state must have been Casey Klaboe of Billings West and Dalton Palmer of Fairfield.

Those are the two quarterbacks on the roster for the East side, and they had to be thrilled that Marcus Ferriter of Butte Central was named to the West team.

As an offensive lineman.

Just ask Whitefish quarterback Luke May. Marcus Ferriter is really bad news for opposing quarterbacks.

In the semifinal game of the Class A semifinals last November in Whitefish, the Butte Central superstar defensive end bruised and battered the Whitefish quarterback as the Maroons won 37-13 to advance to the Class A State Championship Game.

“He tore it up,” Butte Central and Shrine Game teammate Chad Peterson said of Ferriter. “I felt bad for that Luke May.”

Marcus Ferriter closes in on Luke May during BC's semifinal win in Whitefish.

Marcus Ferriter closes in on Luke May during BC’s semifinal win in Whitefish.

Ferriter sacked May five times as he battled through frequent double teams, triple teams and blatant holds to meet the quarterback almost every time the Bulldogs threw the ball that day.

If Ferriter didn’t sack the quarterback he hit him as he threw the ball. Or, he would have hit the quarterback if May would have hung on to the ball for a split second longer.

Had it been a boxing match, the contest would have been stopped midway through the second quarter. At the latest.

Butte Central fans marveled at the performance put on by Ferriter, and they had been watching him the entirety of his remarkable four-year varsity career.

Even the soft-spoken Ferriter acknowledged he was pretty good that Saturday.

“I think it was my overall best game,” Ferriter said after a West team practice at Montana Tech this week. “That was probably the funnest game of my life. That and the championship game, even though we lost it.”

The future Montana State Bobcat earned All-State honors, and he was named Defensive MVP of the Southwestern A Conference after helping lead the Maroons to literally within an inch or two of the State title.

However, Ferriter also started four years on the BC offensive line, and the West team, which is stacked on the defensive line, had a need at offensive tackle.

Without hesitation, Ferriter embraced the role for his final game as a high school player.

“I’ve always played O-line,” Ferriter said. “O-line was kind of my first thing, so it’s kind of cool going out with one more game on O-line. It will be fun. I’m just excited to play O-line one more time.”

Ferriter would clearly play any position needed to participate in the Shrine Game, which raises money for the Shriners Children Hospital in Spokane. That is especially true after he heard local Shriners Hospital patients Tucker Thatcher and Sudah Davis give speeches to the West team before their first practice.

“Those stories are crazy,” Ferriter said. “Tucker Thatcher’s story was just unbelievable. And Sudah’s … that was really amazing. I didn’t know Sudah actually went to the Shriners.”

Thatcher is going to go out for the Butte High football team for the first time, as a senior, this season. He’s been working with the Bulldogs during the summer. He could not play before because of his hip condition that sent him to the Shrine Hospital.

“Tucker was telling us how grateful we should be to be in this position,” Ferriter said. “He said he would kill to be able to play his full four years of his high school. He says he’s playing this year.

“I’m happy for him,” Ferriter said. “That will be great for him to play with his friends and stuff his last year.”

The Bobcats recruited Ferriter to play defensive end. First, he will redshirt this season to focus on adding pounds to his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame.

“Especially in my position I definitely want to,” Ferriter said of redshirting. “I want to put as much good weight on as I can. I’ll focus on lifting especially. I saw how much it helped my brother. That’s why he was so good.”

Ferriter’s brother Sean just completed a stellar senior season on the Montana State track and field team. Sean Ferriter placed second in the hammer throw at the Big Sky Championships and went on to become the first Butte athlete to ever qualify for the NCAA Outdoor National Championship.

The younger Ferriter also had a big-time track season, winning the Class A State title in the discus and placing second in the shot put.

 Marcus Ferriter also had a standout track season.

Marcus Ferriter also had a standout track season.

In basketball, Marcus Ferriter averaged 16.3 points and 7.4 rebound per game for the Maroons. He was the only All-State player on a team that advanced to the Class A State tournament in Bozeman.

Nowhere, though, did Ferriter stand out quite like he did at defensive end, particularly toward the end of his senior season.

“I feel like I did, definitely,” Ferriter said of improving and playing his best in the playoffs. “Coach (Stephan) Burns is such a good coach after playing at (Montana) Tech and being an All-American. He taught us so many moves as the year went on.”

Ferriter also points to the perfectly-constructed defensive line with speedy Kyle Harrington on the other end and big, strong tackles Jake Michelotti and Liam Doran clogging up the middle.

“Harrington definitely helped. He was so fast on the edge,” Harrington said. He called Doran and Michelotti probably the strongest players on the team.

“They’re monsters inside,” he said. “I got to play with a lot of good players. It was fun.”

During the stretch run to the State title game, it was apparent that that defensive line – along with the rest of the defense – was having a blast playing the game.

“As the year went on we got to do a lot of stunts, and we played well together,” Ferriter said. “Everyone was having fun on the defense.”

At MSU, where he’ll room with Kalispell Glacier quarterback and Shrine Game teammate Brady McChesney in the dorms, Ferriter plans to major in electrical engineering.

Before the dorms even open, Ferriter is going to move to Bozeman, where he’ll stay with a friend, to get a jump start on college living. He said he is thrilled with the opportunity to play for the Bobcats.

Amazingly, he is also embracing the fact that he is a preferred walk on with the Bobcats with the same enthusiasm he is playing on the offensive line for the West side. Ferriter committed to the Cats in early December, and he doesn’t see the lack of a scholarship as a slap in the face like many of his fans do.

Actually, Ferriter sees it as a very good thing.

“It will definitely motivate me,” Ferriter said. “That’s what I want to do my first year, try to earn a scholarship. If not the first year, the second year.”

Naturally, Ferriter would have liked to have been involved in the festivities of National Signing Day in February. But if he was hurt by being left out, he’s been doing a great job of hiding his pain.

“It will make me work harder,” Ferriter said. “That’s good. In the long run, hopefully it will help.”

If he needed some reinforcement for those words, Ferriter had to look no further than Wednesday’s guest speaker. Former Montana Grizzly Colt Anderson addressed the team about the importance of playing in the Shrine Game.

Anderson, a Butte High graduate, walked on with the Montana Grizzlies. He eventually earned a scholarship to go along with All-American honors and a roster spot in the NFL.

“He just was telling us how much this game means and how hard we should actually play,” Ferriter said. “Don’t just think of it as an all-star game, actually leave it on the field and go as hard as you can.”

Like the rest of his West side teammates, Ferriter plans to heed Anderson’s advice.

If that means Ferriter will play the Shrine game with an intensity even remotely close to what we saw from him the last time he wore a football uniform, it is very news for some defensive players on the East side.

Just ask that quarterback in Whitefish.

Note: ButteSports.com profiled all six players representing the Mining City in the July 18 Montana East-West Shrine Game in Great Falls. Other players from Butte are Kaemen Richards, Danny Peoples, and Chad Peterson of Butte Central Clay Dean and Dalton Daum of Butte High.

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