On the night Butte High won the 2012 Class AA state football title, junior Peter Granger knocked over a few people at Naranche Stadium.
That’s because Granger was one of the thousands of Bulldog fans who rushed the field after Jake Dennehy booted the game-winning field goal as time expired in the 38-36 win over Bozeman.
“I was running out on the field,” Granger remembered. “I was in the first row, and I remember knocking a few people over running out to celebrate.”
A year later, Granger spent a lot more time on the grass at Naranche Stadium.
For the first time since he was in seventh grade, Granger played football full time, and he thrived in the high-octane Butte High offense.
Granger caught 64 passes for 899 yards and six touchdowns for the Bulldogs, earning him a first-team All-State selection.
It also earned him a spot on the West roster in next Saturday’s Montana East-West Shrine Game in Laurel.
“I was expecting to do good,” Granger said after Saturday night’s practice on Montana Tech’s Bob Green Field. “I always expect a lot out of myself, but I didn’t expect to do as good as I did. Dallas (Cook) helped with that a lot. Coach (Arie) Grey helped me out with a lot of stuff.”
Granger, who was the lone Butte player selected to play for Montana in last month’s Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl, also caught the eye of college coaches. He was offered a preferred walk on to play for Montana State.
After long consideration, Granger decided to pass on college football. Instead, he will study computer science at Montana Tech.
“I was going to take the walk on at MSU,” said Granger, who left Butte High with a 3.7 GPA. “It’s a lot of time with school and football, and I just want to concentrate on school.”
Granger also passed on a chance to play football at Tech so he could focus on his studies. Of course, he’s known for changing his mind when it comes to football.
For now, though, Granger is planning on the Shrine Game being his farewell to football, a sport he originally gave up for baseball in eighth grade. That’s when Granger starting playing fall ball for Big Sky Baseball.
“I liked football in seventh grade,” said Granger, who excelled as a pitcher and catcher, making the decision to walk away from football an easy one.
Granger even considered college baseball and talked to coaches about doing that when he was younger. When the American Legion program in Butte lost its field at Alumni Coliseum, though, Granger lost his passion for the sport.
In 2013, the Butte Miners didn’t play at the Class AA level and Montana Legion Baseball wouldn’t let them play in Class A, leaving the team in no-man’s land. That didn’t sound very fun to many players, including Granger.
“I didn’t want play to A, or not even A,” he said. “You don’t play for anything, really.”
This year, the Miners are a contender in the Class A, but Granger’s baseball days are behind him.
Granger actually joined the football team late in the season as a sophomore. He didn’t play enough, however, get him out again as a junior.
He didn’t really start considering playing football again until that magical November night in 2012.
“That’s when I was like, ‘Man should I play football next year?,'” Granger said. “Then I thought about it all year.”
Granger had some encouragement from the members of the state championship team.
“They all talked to me after they won the championship,” he said. “‘Don’t you wish you a ring?'”
It wasn’t until last summer when boredom overtook Granger, and he official made the decision.
“It was summer and I was just sitting at home and had nothing to do,” Granger said. “All my friends were at football, and I was like ‘I got to get out there and play.’
“So I texted coach Grey and he said be at weights tomorrow, 6 a.m. I said, ‘I’ll be there.'”
His success on the football team led to a better player on the basketball court. Granger started two seasons for the Bulldog varsity team. As a senior, he averaged 10.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
“I thought I was more physical,” Granger said of playing basketball after a season of football.
Football also opened Grangers eyes to the plight of patients of the Shriners Hospital for Children in Spokane.
On Saturday, the West team members got a talk form some patients. That included some words from Tucker Thatcher, a teammate of Granger’s on the Butte High basketball team.
“He spoke to us about the disease he has in his hip and how we’re lucky to be out here,” Granger said of Thatcher’s speech. “He told us about some of the kids he saw at the Shrine Hospital.”
The West team also learned the amount of money that was raised and presented to the Spokane hospital from last year’s game in Butte.
“That’s what it is for,” Granger said. “They said they raised $146,000 for the Shrine hospital last year, which is awesome.”
Those kind of numbers make Granger know that he made the right decision when he decided to return to the gridiron as a senior.
“I’m really glad I played football,” he said.
Note: ButteSports.com will profile all seven Butte players on the West roster before Saturday’s Montana East-West Shrine Game. Other Butte Westside players are Dallas Cook and Johnny Walker from Butte High and Kale Guldseth, Connor McGree, Wyatt Kingston and Connor Schulte from Butte Central. 1 comment