Hansen, Jackson, Lee, Vetter, Lester are West Side alternates
As many as eight players from the Mining City could be part of the 2021 Montana East-West Shrine Game.
Rosters and alternates for the game were released Christmas morning, with six players from Butte High and two from Butte Central making the list.
Jake Olson and Ty Raiha of Butte High and Bryan Holland of Butte Central were named to the West Team roster for the 74th edition of the prestigious All-Star football game. Five other Butte players were named alternates for the West. They are Christian Hansen, D.J. Jackson, Aidan Lee and Christian Vetter of Butte High and Egan Lester of Butte Central.
The game will be played June 19, 2021 in Billings. The West Side will practice in Butte leading up to the game. The East Side will prepare in Billings.
Olson is a 6-foot-7, 235-pound tight end who was recently named first-team All-State. He signed to play football at the University of Montana.
The 6-1, 290-pound Raiha was a multiple-year starter for the Bulldog offensive line. He will play guard for the West Side.
Holland, listed at 6-0, 210 pounds, was a two-way force for the Maroons in the trenches. He will play on the defensive line in the Shrine Game.
Hansen made the alternate list after a 2020 season that saw him honored as a second-team All-State player. If called upon, he will play cornerback, the position that saw him have a breakout senior season.
The 6-4, 290-pound Jackson started at center for the Bulldogs the past two seasons. He will take his size, talent and versatility to Montana Western’s football team.
Lee is an alternate as a defensive end. The 6-foot, 215-pounder excelled at the position for the past three years, when he became one of Butte High’s all-time sack leaders.
Vetter is a 6-foot, 180-pound running back who overcame a torn ACL as a junior for a big-time senior season at Butte High. He signed to continue his career at Montana Tech.
Lester is another player who signed with the Orediggers. While he excelled as a running back for the Maroons, the 5-10, 170-pound Lester made the alternate list as a running back.
The West roster includes four players from Dillon. They are Zeke Ellis, Jace Fitzgerald, Michael Hupp and Cole Truman. Whitehall’s Dylan and Flint Smith also got the call, as did Kade Cutler of Flint Creek. Dillon’s Daxon Graham and Jonny Reiser and Flint Creek’s Preston Metesh made the alternate list.
Dane Oliver of Missoula Sentinel will serve as head coach of the West Side. Oliver is a Monmouth, Oregon native who played wide receiver for the 2001 National championship Montana Grizzlies.
Oliver began his coaching career as assistant at Seeley-Swan. He has been the head coach for Sentinel the past nine years. This fall, Oliver led Sentinel to its first Class AA State championship in 48 years. This will be Oliver’s second time coaching the shrine game and his first as head coach.
John Fitzgerald of Red Lodge will coach the East Side. Fitzgerald is a Columbus native who also played for the Grizzlies as a member of their 2001 National championship team. Fitzgerald, an uncle to Jace Fitzgerald, played in the 1997 shrine game and started his coaching career in 2002 in Cut Bank. He is currently head coach of the Red Lodge Rams (2004-2013 and 2017-2020) leading his team to a semi-final finish in 2019. This is Fitzgerald’s first opportunity to serve as head coach in the Shrine Game after assisting in 2012.
The players were nominated by their schools and coaches across the state before being selected as the “best of the best” to participate in the 74th Montana Shrine Game. They join an elite fraternity of players, many of whom have gone on to distinguished collegiate and professional careers.
Montana’s Shrine Game has raised nearly $1 million for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Spokane, Washington over the last 10 years. The hospital provides expert care regardless of the family’s ability to pay. In recent years, the Montana game is the top Shrine Game in the nation for hospital donations.
Forty of Montana’s finest are selected to compete on each team. Two players from Calgary will join them, one for the East and one for the West. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 became the first year that a game was not played since its inception. Players from the 2020 game who did not get to play will be recognized during the 2021 game.
The 2021 game will also mark the first time the Shrine Game will be played in June. Organizers moved it up a month following folding of the Badlands Bowl.