Snyder settling in at defensive end for West

By Bill Foley

It was not unusual to see Dylan Snyder fly around the corner and chase down a quarterback on the turf at Naranche Stadium.

Seeing him do it in a Missoula Hellgate practice jersey, however, might have turned some heads.

That was the case Monday at Butte High as the West Side boys practiced for Saturday’s 75th Montana East-West Shrine Game in Great Falls.

“We had to switch for offense and defense,” Snyder explained of how he ended up wearing Missoula Hellgate star receiver Ian Finch’s jersey.

Finch donned Snyder’s white Butte High jersey to join the offense, while Snyder put on the red Knights jersey.

“That was after (Mick Delaney) explained how good it it’s to be from Butte,” Snyder said with a laugh, referring to the former Montana Grizzly coach who addressed the West Side on Monday.

By Tuesday, Snyder was back in his Butte High duds.

“No, I’m going to stick with this one now,” Snyder said. “It was only that one day. It was pretty funny. People were mistaking me and Ian.”

Snyder will also be staying put on the defensive line as the West gets ready to collide with the East Side.

Playing that one position is not easy for Snyder, who was one of Butte High’s best players on offense and defense in 2021. He caught 37 passes for 571 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games. He went over 100 yards receiving in three games.

The 6-foot-3 Snyder will play receiver for the Montana State Bobcats.

On defense, Snyder racked up 38 total tackles and a team-leading five sacks and eight quarterback hurries.

“I’d like to play offense, but it’s not really up to my decision,” Snyder said. “Defense is also fun, but I think I like offense better.”

Snyder will also play on the West kickoff, kick return and punt teams. Last fall, he returned a kickoff 88-yards for a touchdown in Butte High’s win at Kalispell Flathead.

While Snyder says the best part of playing football is scoring touchdowns, he is also fond of chasing down quarterbacks. With his speed off the edge, that is something Snyder is very good at, too.

“It’s the fun part,” Snyder said. “I’m really quick off the edge, but once I get in the interior I get blown up. If you’re aggressive enough, I guess you can play it.”

Snyder said he was weighing about 195 to 200 pounds before he came down with mononucleosis and missed a chunk of the track season.

He said he still gets tired sometimes and he is struggling to regain the weight, but he has recovered from the ailment in time to go 100 percent in the Shrine Game.

“It’s been really fun so far,” said Snyder, one of two Butte players in the game. Bulldog teammate Cole Stewart is the other. “Me and Stew have been enjoying it a lot. It’s a lot different, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Snyder said he is trying to soak in the week of practice and events. The team went to the movie theater to see Top Gun Tuesday night.

“I’ve heard from people who played it before,” Snyder said. “It was one of the funnest weekends of their lives. I just want to cherish it, meet new people and make new memories.”

Snyder will report to the Bobcats in August. He committed to MSU in November and officially signed in December.

Shrine camp is kind of a preview of college life for Snyder.

“This is kind of the start to it, doing three-a-days and not staying in your house,” Snyder said. “I’m pretty excited. But I’ve got to get used to.”

Participating in practices where everyone is an All-Star has been an adjustment, he said. Every player in the game is one of the best players from his high school team.

“That’s what I told my parents when they were asking me about it,” he said. “I told them, ‘It’s lot different now. Everybody’s an All-Star.”

Playing in front of a huge crowd — both at Memorial Stadium and on the radio and television — is what Snyder is looking forward to the most.

“It’s going to be a fun game to play,” he said.

Snyder, by the way, will don the familiar No. 4 for the Shrine Game. He will be wearing a red jersey, but this time it will be for the West Side, not Hellgate.