By Bill Foley
Wednesday morning was not the first time Dylan Snyder and Casey Kautzman shared the spotlight.
This time, the two Butte High seniors sat together in Butte High’s Richardson Gym as a large group of family, friends, classmates and teammates watched them officially sign to play football at Montana State University.
In May of 2016, Snyder and Kautzman tied for the sixth-grade boys’ pentathlete title at the Butte Grade School Track Meet on the Charlie Merrifield Track.
“We were both the pentathlete when we were in sixth grade,” Kautzman said. “Now we’re going to MSU together”
Snyder competed for Margaret Leary, while Kautzman ran for Hillcrest.
“We had to do rock, paper, scissors for the little trophy,” Kautzman said. “I won, and he had to wait a couple of months to get his.”
Fast forward five and a half years, and the former competitors are now Bobcats. Snyder verbally committed on Nov. 24, and Kautzman announced his decision on Sunday. Wednesday’s National Signing Day ceremony made both commitments official.
“It was always my dream to play D1 football,” Snyder said. “So, it’s an exciting day.”
Snyder signed while sitting between his parents Jason and Lisa, while Kautzman gave his John Hancock between his parents Jessie and Brent. A few dozen Butte High teammates also showed up for the early-morning ceremony.
“It was cool seeing all my teammates watching be sign because I really couldn’t have done it without them and my coaches,” Snyder said.
“What a neat deal to have two fine young men have the opportunity to go play college football,” Butte High coach Arie Grey said. “Kids dream of this opportunity, and these two guys have dreamed of this for a long time. They did a great job to give themselves the opportunity.”
Snyder was a standout at defensive end and receiver for the Bulldogs this past season, earning All-State on both sides of the ball. He took home first-team honors as an “athlete” on defense and was named to the second team as a receiver.
He said the Bobcats are talking about using him on offense, but defense is still on the table.
“I’m honestly open to any position as long as I can get on the field,” Snyder said.
Grey said Snyder could excel on either side of the ball. He certainly did for the Bulldogs.
“He was probably one of the best athletes on the field at all times — in every game,” the coach said. “That’s saying a lot because this is a pretty good league.”
There is no question what Kautzman is going to the Bozeman school to do. He is going to kick.
Kautzman earned first-team All-State honors as a kicker. He was an all-conference punter, too, leaving the school as arguably the best kicker in school history.
He is also the most famous Butte High kicker this side of Jake Dennehy, the hero of the 2012 state championship game. Kautzman offered free individual lessons to any boy or girl who wanted to learn how to kick in the summer of 2020. He put on a camp this past summer.
“Casey is the most dynamic kicker in the state,” Grey said. “I don’t think people realize what he’s done for all the kickers, and I think that’s pretty special. He’s marketed being a kicker.”
Kautzman said he is happy that his commitment is now official.
“It feels good,” he said. “Now I’m just going to get back to work and get ready to compete.”
The two Bulldogs will join Butte High graduate Tommy Mellott, aka “Touchdown Tommy,” with the Bobcats. Mellott helped Kautzman set the school’s single-season PAT record in 2019.
Snyder never caught a pass from Mellott because he was recovering from a gruesome broken leg during Mellott’s senior year. He just might get that chance with the Bobcats.
“I’m so proud of the and everything that they’ve done and what they’ve done for our program,” Grey said of Snyder and Kautzman. “This is a pretty big deal for me, too. It’s pretty neat to have two kids go join one of our guys.”