Red rallies for 31-28 Shrine win

Nothing is impossible.

Especially at Naranche Stadium.

If fans weren’t reminded of that when sixth grader Sudah Davis ran on two prosthetic legs to lead the West team onto the field for the 67th Montana East-West Shrine Football game, they surely where when the West side overcame a 28-0 deficit for a 31-28 victory.

With six members of the 2012 Butte High state champions on the West roster, Saturday’s game sort of followed the script we saw so many times last fall.

The East could do no wrong, building the four-touchdown advantage in front of a crowd of about 4,000.

East quarterback Sean Sullivan threw touchdown passes of 27 and 49 yards to Matt Fuhrman and Josh Horner.

Nolan Saraceni, a Billings Senior grad who will play for Montana Tech, scored on an 8-yard run, while Ryan Gallogly scored on a 6-yard scamper.

The score by Horner, a former Great Falls Russell star, made it 28-0 just 31 seconds into the second quarter.

In other stadiums, the losing team might have panicked.

“I kept telling the guys, ‘Relax, relax, play the game. It’s a long game,'” said West head coach Arie Grey, who led the Bulldogs to the title in November. “I couldn’t be more proud of the kids for settling in and playing.”

Suddenly, it was the West that could do no wrong. As the offense began to roll, the West defense became simply dominant.

Butte High graduate Anthony “Chunk” Moritz, who had a stellar game in the middle of the defensive line, said scheme adjustments weren’t required.

“We all just settled in and played football. Nothing changed,” Moritz said. “They started off hot. They came out and hit us in the mouth. It was like Butte High’s entire season. No one really got down. That’s what helped us come back. Everyone kept believing, and we knew that the momentum would swing our way.”

Montana State recruit Gunnar Brekke from Helena Capital got the West started, scoring on a 1-yard run behind Moritz, a three-year starter for Butte High at right guard. Moritz lined up in the backfield as a blocking back.

A 55-yard strike from Helena High grad Dawson Reardon to Kalispell Glacier’s Kyle Griffith set up that score.

The blinding sun came into play on the ensuing kickoff.

Saraceni, who clearly had a hard time seeing, fielded the kickoff and took a knee — on the 1-yard-line.

The West forced a three-and-out, and McQueary, who ran for 82 yards and passed for 120, scored on a 6-yard run a few plays later. The extra point was blocked, making it a 28-13 game.

Brekke added an 8-yard TD run before Missoula Big Sky’s Nico Graham booted a 23-yard field goal as time expired, sending the West into the locker room at halftime trailing 28-23.

“We came together as a team in that second quarter,” McQueary said. “We put together some drives and our defense was outstanding. Outstanding.”

The team really came together in the second quarter when an East player hit McQueary late — really late — out of bounds, forcing the Manhattan star to crash into the brick wall behind the bench.

A fight almost ensued, with nearly every member of the West team involved, sticking up for the quarterback.

“That’s great seeing your teammates do that,” McQueary said. “It’s not the most sportsmanship-like thing to do. But that shows a lot to me.”

Grey and Moritz were quick to say that they know the late hit was an accident.

Moritz pointed out he played with the East linebacker in the Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl.

“He felt so bad, I could tell,” Moritz said. “It was just an accidental thing.”

With 5 minutes, 5 seconds left in the third quarter, the comeback was complete.

McQueary found defensive lineman Devin Jeffries, a fellow future Bobcat from Kalispell Glacier, over the middle for a 4-yard touchdown pass.

The quarterback then hit Dillon star Austin Carver, a future Montana Grizzly, for the 2-point conversion to make it 31-28.

“Really the key was that we were good on first down after the first quarter,” Grey said. “In the first quarter we weren’t good on first down. When you give yourself second and long, you’re in trouble.”

Big hits by Moritz, Polson’s Eric Williamson, Twin Bridges’ Maxwell Orrin, Missoula Big Sky’s Weston Northrop and Anaconda’s Joey Orrino helped the West preserve the lead.

No defensive play, though, was bigger than the one made by Missoula Big Sky’s Jay Owens. With the East in field goal range, Owens shot out of nowhere to intercept a pass at the West 18-yard line with 47.3 seconds left.

Then East was out of timeouts and out of time as the boys in yellow saw their red counterparts win the Shrine Game for the fifth time in six years.

Sullivan passed for 98 yards to lead the East. Saraceni, who was on the sideline much of the second half, ran for 53 yards on 10 carries.

Reardon, a future Oredigger, passed for 146 yards for the West. Brekke ran for 81 yards

Griffith ended with seven receptions — one that seemed as improbable as the 28-point comeback. Butte High graduate Bryce Armstrong caught six passes for 46 yards.

Butte High grads Nick “Bubba” Butorovich, Jon Allen, Drew Schleeman and Zach Bunney also played for the West in the game. Bunney missed most of the game with a lower back injury.

Joe Joyce and Northey Tretheway represented the Maroons. They were the two players who escorted young Sudah Davis, who kicked off the improbable night.

The last time the Shrine Game was in Butte — in 2010 — it raised more than $103,000 that went to the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Spokane, a place Davis knows all too well.

That fact wasn’t lost on the game’s MVP.

“It was a lot of fun,” McQueary said. “It’s just a great honor to be a part of this Shriners group and what they do for those kids.”


East       21   7   0   0 – 28
West      0   23   8   0 – 31
First Quarter

East – Nolan Saraceni 8 run (Christian Parr kick), 11:45
East – Matt Fuhrman 27 pass from Sean Sullivan (Parr kick), 7:48
East – Ryan Gallogly 6 run (Parr kick), 2:21
Second Quarter
East – Josh Horner 49 pass from Sullivan (Parr kick), 14:29
West – Gunnar Brekke 1 run (Nico Graham kick), 11:17
West – Quinn McQueary 6 run (kick blocked), 8:10
West – Brekke 8 run (Graham kick), 4:14
West – Graham 23 FG, :00.
Third Quarter
West – Devin Jeffries 4 pass from McQueary (Austin Carver pass from McQueary), 5:05
Fourth Quarter
No scoring
                                    East       West
First downs                 18           31
Rushes-yards               50-152  63-227
Pass yards                   185        267
Att-comp-int               13-23-1   23-40-0
Penalties-yards            8-72       3-28
Fumbles-lost                 3-1         2-2
RUSHING – East: Gallogly 16-62, Sullivan 8-6, Hunter Thomsen 14-35, Saraceni 10-53, Tanner Blair 1-(-4). West: Dawson Reardon 12-32, McQueary 22-82, Zach Winfield 6-19, Brekke 20-81, Zach Bunney 3-13.
PASSING – East: Gallogly 7-12-1-87, Sullivan 6-11-0-98. West: Reardon 11-21-0-146, McQueary 12-19-0-120.
RECEIVING – East: Josh Horner 4-84, Matt Fuhrman 2-47, Saraceni 2-7, Thomsen 1-7, Tyler Ollinger1-6, Jordan Jernigan1-7, Josh Horner 1-19. West: Bryce Armstrong 6-46, Kyle Griffith 7-132, Nico Graham 1-3, Brekke 2-20, Josh Janssen 2-15, Jake Messerly 1-32, Austin Carver 3-24, Jon Allen 1-3, Jeffries 1-4.

Sudah Davis, the Shriners Hospital ambassador, uses her two prosthetic legs to lead the West team onto the field. She is holding hands with Butte Central graduates Joe Joyce (5) and Northey Tretheway.

Butte Central graduate Northey Tretheway goes in for a tackle against East quarterback Ryan Gallogly.

Dillon’s Austin Carver (14) and Manhattan’s Quinn McQueary (8) leave the field late in the West win.

Jay Owens is congratulated after his game-clinching interception.


The presentation of the colors.

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  • Brad Owens
    July 23, 2013, 9:31 am

    Great Article…is it possible to purchase any of these pictures?


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