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Griz touch down in Ronan for spring scrimmage

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RONAN — The Griz came to town April 13 for a cold and windy spring scrimmage on Laverne Parrish Memorial Field. Montanans are tough, though, and Griz fans from around the area packed the stands.   

The Griz returned 10 starters on defense, and over the afternoon, defensive players sacked the quarterbacks seven times and scored four interceptions. The defense was the winner with a 30-13 victory. 

No one but the truly ferocious fans really cared who won; it was just enough to get out, watch some Griz football locally, visit with other Griz fans, predict how the Griz will do this year and talk about who will start as quarterback, a question on the lips of every Griz fan. 

Ball boys Cade Schutzmann and Noah Cheff, wrapped in a Pendleton blanket, were on duty o the sidelines. The young men agreed they were chosen because they are good citizens and they applied.

The game was dedicated to Dennis Murphy, a Ronan graduate, who is the head trainer for the Griz and is retiring.

The Mission Mountain Chapter of the Grizzly Scholarship Association hosted the event, helped mightily by title sponsor Community Bank. 

Alice Erb, GSA board member, said this is the fourth time there’s been a scrimmage in Lake County, “so we’re really lucky.” 

The GSA put on a full slate of events, including a meet-and-greet with the coaching staff Friday, the scrimmage and tailgate on Saturday, and a silent auction, a raffle, a 50/50 drawing and a coloring contest for small Griz fans.

The community helped out, too, according to Carlene Bockman, GSA board member. Kicking Horse Job Corps students helped set up the tables. Allentown Restaurant and Bar and Ninepipes Lodge donated the food for Friday evening’s event and set up their bar at the tailgate party,  planning to donate 25 percent back to the GSA. Tailgate cakes were compliments of the Ronan Chamber of Commerce.

On the menu at the tailgate were Indian tacos and a Subway sandwich that spelled out “Griz.” 

Players and coaches ate first, and then $8 bought an Indian taco lunch and a chance to schmooze with the Griz in the warmth of a 4-H barn. 

“There is a good group of area Griz fans and community members who are super supportive,” Bockman said, adding that she wanted to thank everyone who helped make the weekend a success.

More than 800 children from the seven Flathead Reservation elementary schools colored pictures of Monte for the coloring contest — the prize, a picture with Monte.

The kids may not have watched much of the scrimmage, but the end zones and any large patch of grass was covered with future Griz throwing footballs around and dreaming of attending the University of Montana.


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