Local Showcase

A breakdown of the 17 players from Northwest Montana who are on the MSU and UM rosters

By Andy Viano
Josh Sandry points at a teammate during the University of Montana intra-squad spring game at Legends Stadium on April 13, 2019. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

This year’s Cat-Griz game will have a decidedly Northwest Montana feel, with 17 players on the two teams’ rosters who hail from this part of the state. Here’s a quick look at all of the area’s players who will take part in the 119th edition of the Brawl of the Wild.


#16 Luke May, R-Jr., Safety
Whitefish High School (2016)
The quarterback for the state champion Bulldogs in 2015, May was a three-sport star who won three consecutive state javelin titles in high school. He originally attended the University of Minnesota on a javelin scholarship but transferred to Bozeman and restarted his football career in 2017.

#17 Tadan Gilman, R-So., Linebacker
Glacier High School (2017)
A highly decorated member of the Wolfpack, Gilman was an all-state quarterback and punter his senior season, and then led Glacier to the school’s first state basketball championship that winter. Gilman has three tackles, including one tackle for loss, for the Cats this season.

#28 Logan Jones, R-Sr., Running Back
Glacier High School (2015)
Jones was a do-it-all dynamo for the state champion Wolfpack in 2014, utilizing his blazing speed on offense and special teams. It’s been more of the same in college for the 5-7 Jones, who has been a star in the return game and leads MSU in rushing with 675 yards this season.

Montana State running back Logan Jones, a Kalispell native, cuts upfield. Tina Haines | Montana State University

#40 Logan Gilliard, Fr., Tight End
Bigfork High School (2019)
A two-time state champion basketball player for the Vikings, Gilliard was a linebacker and offensive lineman on the gridiron at Bigfork. Gilliard was slated to redshirt his season for the Bobcats.

#58 Josh Hill, R-Sr., Linebacker
Glacier High School (2015)
Hill starred for the undefeated, state champion Wolfpack in 2014, earning the Class AA Defensive MVP award after the season. Hill missed nearly two full seasons due to injury but has 39 tackles and 4 1/2 tackles for loss this year.

#82 Mark Estes, R-Fr., Wide Receiver
Glacier High School (2018)
Estes made the most of his one year with the Wolfpack, landing on the all-state team at wide receiver and winning a pair of state titles in track. After redshirting in 2018, Estes has caught four passes for the Cats this season for 36 total yards.

#88 Jarrett Kessler, R-So., Tight End
Glacier High School (2017)
Kessler was a mainstay in the trenches for the Wolfpack, earning honorable all-state honors on the offensive and defensive line as a senior. He attended Diablo Valley Community College before transferring to MSU.


#5 Garrett Graves, R-Fr., Quarterback
Lincoln County High School (2018)
Graves led the Lions to back-to-back Class B state championships in 2016 and 2017 in addition to an undefeated state title on the wrestling mat in 2018. Graves is playing all over the field for the Griz this year, including on special teams where he has eight tackles and one blocked kick this season.

Garrett Graves looks for an open receiver during the University of Montana intra-squad spring game at Legends Stadium on April 13, 2019. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

#6 Jackson Pepe, R-Fr., Safety
Glacier High School (2018)
A two-time captain of the Wolfpack football team, Pepe was a dangerous returner and all-state safety as a senior in high school. Pepe has yet to record any statistics this year as part of a deep and talented Grizzlies secondary.

#13 Josh Sandry, R-Sr., Safety
Bigfork High School (2015)
Sandry has been a mainstay in the defensive backfield for the last four seasons and has put together another strong year as a senior with 43 tackles, 5 1/2 tackles for loss and his sixth career interception. Sandry enters this week’s action with 183 tackles in 45 career games.

#32 Drew Turner, R-Fr., Running Back
Glacier High School (2018)
Turner spent last season as a redshirt after a phenomenal prep career at Glacier, and he’s found his way into the running back rotation this fall for the Grizzlies. Turner has rushed 15 times for 99 yards and found the end zone for the first time in his career on Sept. 7 against North Alabama.

Drew Turner tries to make a one-handed catch as he warms up before the University of Montana intra-squad spring game at Legends Stadium on April 13, 2019. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

#39 Brandon Purdy, R-Jr., Kicker/Punter
Glacier High School (2016)
Purdy was an honorable mention All-American kicker in 2017 before an injury cost him the entire 2018 campaign. Back healthy this year, the junior has connected on 9-of-12 field goals, including a career-long 47-yard make, and converted 49 out of 51 extra points.

#46 Jed Nagler, R-Jr., Linebacker
Whitefish High School (2016)
A star wide receiver for the 2015 state champion Bulldogs, the 6-foot-4 Nagler has played exclusively on the defensive side the last two years in Missoula.  Nagler has seven total tackles in four games this year and 21 tackles in his Grizzlies career.

#58 Patrick O’Connell, R-So., Linebacker
Glacier High School (2017)
O’Connell began his college career at the University of Mary before transferring back home, and his first season for the Griz has been an impressive one. A former all-state football and baseball player, O’Connell leads the Griz with 6 1/2 sacks this year and has 44 total tackles, fifth on the team.

#60 Dillon Botner, Fr., Offensive Line
Whitefish High School (2019)
A gifted athlete with a huge frame, the 6-foot-6 Botner was a team captain in both football and basketball for the Bulldogs, earning all-conference on the offensive and defensive line as a senior. Botner was expected to redshirt this season.

#81 Matt Rensvold, R-So., Tight End
Polson High School (2017)
An all-state basketball and football player for the Pirates, Rensvold stepped right into the mix at tight end in 2018, catching a pair of touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. This year, the 6-4 Rensvold hauled in a score against North Alabama on Sept. 7.

#82 Carver Gilman, Fr., Kicker/Punter
Whitefish High School (2019)
He played wide receiver and safety for the Bulldogs, but the strong-legged Gilman stood out most on special teams. Gilman’s career-long make in high school was from 49 yards and the Bulldogs kicker earned all-state honors as a senior.

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