Nobody had to explain the meaning of the Montana East-West Shrine Game to Chad Peterson.
He already knows all too well.
The Butte Central graduate lives with a patient of the Shriners Hospital for Children in Spokane, where the money raised by the all-star football game is sent.
Chad’s sister, Sloan, who will be 8 years old next month, makes frequent trips to the hospital because she has a significant curve in her spine. That curve will likely require surgery when she’s in high school.
“I’m not sure how many years she’s been going, but she’s been going a long time,” Peterson said after a practice Tuesday at Montana Tech. “That’s why my dad (Tom) joined the Shriners just recently. He was going down to the hospital with my sister and he got really interested in how they work. He really became attached to it, and he wanted to be a part in it.”
When Chad Peterson represents the Mining City on the West Team in Saturday’s 69th Montana East-West Shrine Game in Great Falls, it won’t be his first Shrine Game.
Peterson’s father is Butte Central’s defensive coordinator. He played in the Shrine Game in 1988. The elder Peterson also coached in the game a couple of times.
Chad Peterson’s uncle Pat Ogrin played in the game in 1976 — well before Chad was born and six and a half years before Ogrin won a Super Bowl ring with the Washington Redskins.
“I’ve been to a few of them on the sidelines,” Peterson said. “I got to meet a whole bunch of people throughout the Shrine game. I was a ball boy a few times. It’s kind of awesome playing in it.”
Peterson earned his way on the West team roster with a stellar career at Butte Central. He started three years at outside linebacker — the position he will play in the Shrine Game — and two years as a receiver.
Last season he earned first-team all-conference accolades on both sides of the ball. He was an All-State linebacker.
Peterson will play receiver at Montana Western. At least that is what he would prefer to play for the Dillon school.
When Peterson signed with the Bulldogs in December, Western coach B.J. Robertson said he would give Peterson a look at receiver because that’s where he wants to play. The coach, though, pointed out that the former Maroon can also play linebacker in the Frontier Conference.
Either position will be fine with Peterson.
“Wherever they have me, I’ll play,” Peterson said. “I just want to play football, that’s the main thing.”
As a Maroon, Peterson ranks eighth in school history with 61 career receptions. That includes three catches for 96 yards and a touchdown in the Class A State championship game.
He caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Danny Peoples to put the Maroons up 28-14 over Dillon with 10 minutes, 45 seconds left in the championship game.
Unfortunately for the Maroons, the Beavers scored the last 15 points and won 29-28.
Peterson shakes off the notion that he has an uncanny knack for making offensive plays on the football field.
“I just try to do my best and hopefully something good will happen for me,” he said.
Playing on offense is just more fun for Peterson. That might have something to do with him being a part of BC’s versatile, high-octane offense that include big-time play makers like Kyle Harrington, Kaemen Richards, Dalton Sessions, Cole Harper and the quarterback, Peoples.
“It was awesome,” Peterson said of playing with that collection of stars. “We could do anything, honestly. We could move a lot of kids around because a lot of kids could play any position.
“Harper, he was like an extra quarterback if we needed him. Then they had me playing running back a couple of games when Kaemen hurt his ankle.”
Peterson, who has added about 15 pounds since last season and is about 6-foot, 200 pounds heading into the Shrine Game, said he could probably play every position but quarterback.
“Oh, probably not,” he said of lining up behind center. “Maybe in the wildcat formation running the ball, but I couldn’t throw it. I can’t throw it very far.”
On Saturday, Peterson will once again be surrounded by some serious talent on a salty West side defensive unit.
We’ve got a good linebacking crew and the defensive line is just huge,” Peterson said. “The linebackers, we’re fast, we’re strong. We should be able to handle anyone out there.”
Scott Evans from Helena High is coordinating the West defense.
“He’s awesome,” Peterson said. “He’s great. He helps a ton, and he knows exactly what he’s doing. The Central defense is kind of the same. They’re pretty close. It was really easy to pick up.”
Of course, Peterson knows a thing or two about studying a defense since he grew up with a defensive coordinator as his father.
“Living with him I would study the defense,” Peterson said of his dad. “I would learn the defense ahead of time and then focus on the offense because that’s what I was going for. I had the defense down really well for the Maroons.”
Peterson also has the meaning of the game down. Over the last two seasons, the Montana East-West Shrine raised about $200,000 to send to the hospital to take special care of patients like Peterson’s sister Sloan.
While he doesn’t need to watch the presentations and videos the Shriners show the team leading up to the game, Peterson still does. And he pays close attention.
“We watched them,” Peterson said. “They’re touching. It’s like wow. All of us here are lucky that we get this chance here to play football and go to college to play football.”
Note: ButteSports.com will profile 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 Marcus Ferriter of Butte Central and Dalton Daum and Clay Dean of Butte High. 1 comment