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Griz scrimmage to heat up gridiron in Ronan

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Spring college football is in the air and the Grizzlies are headed to Ronan. For the first time, the University of Montana spring scrimmage will be held at Ronan High School’s Laverne Parrish Field on Saturday, April 13. 

Kickoff is at noon but plenty of festivities will precede the annual event. 

There’s an opportunity to talk to the coaches and administrators at a meet-and-greet social Friday, April 12, at 6 p.m. at the Ronan fairgrounds barn. Music, food and refreshments will be available. 

And Monte will be on hand for pictures at a tailgate celebration from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. preceding the scrimmage. Tomy Parker will be recognized on the field before the national anthem, which will be sung by Greg Devlin. The Mission Valley Honor Guard will present the colors, and the Post Creek drummers, led by Phillip Paul, will perform the honor song, and returning veterans also will be recognized for their contributions. 

Players also will be available on the field after the scrimmage for autographs and pictures and there will be a post-game meal with Indian tacos. The game is a Grizzly Scholarship Association fundraiser and co-sponsored by Community Bank. Tickets are $5 and available at the gate or in advance. Children under 5 are free. 

This promises to be an exciting and rewarding season for Grizzly football with the return of quarterbacks Shay Smithwick-Hann, Trent McKinney and Jordan Johnson, all of whom have starting experience and are vying for the No. 1 spot. 

An outstanding defensive unit is mostly intact and led by a linebacker corps featuring senior Jordan Tripp and a line headed by behemoth Tonga Takai. 

And be sure to get a photo with your little one with offensive guard William Poehls (Pales) who goes 6-8 and 345. 

So just how successful has Grizzly football been in recent history? 

Since the 2000 season Montana has posted 142 victories, the most by any FCS team and have been defeated just 32 times, a winning percentage of just short of 80 percent. 

The Grizzlies open the season Aug. 31 against FCS powerhouse Appalachian State, which recently announced its move to the FBS football level next season. 

Currently the game is scheduled to be played at Washington Grizzly Stadium for the first time under the facility’s permanent lights. 

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