Seventeen from Northwest Montana Picked for Shrine Game

Ten players make West roster; Bigfork, and Mission have two, Whitefish has three chosen for annual prep all-star game

By Micah Drew
Fynn Ridgeway of Whitefish High School. Best of Preps. Fall 2022 Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The rosters for the annual Montana East-West Shrine Game will feature senior standouts from eight different Northwest Montana high schools, it was announced on Dec. 25.

The annual all-star football game will be played on June 17, 2023 in Butte and feature the top players in the class of 2022 from around the state. This season, 17 locals have been chosen, 10 on the West roster and seven more as alternates for the West team. The student athletes represent Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Libby, Glacier, Mission, Polson, Thompson Falls and Whitefish high schools.

Of the local teams, Whitefish had the most players selected with three on the West roster. Bulldogs Kai Nash and Montana Cohenour were both All-State selections for their performances this season on Whitefish’s offensive and defensive lines. Star quarterback Fynn Ridgeway was also selected for the Shrine roster but as a cornerback, due to the high talent level among local quarterbacks, including Polson’s Jarrett Wilson, who made the roster cut.

Bigfork contributed two players to the West roster, defensive end Nick Walker and cornerback Isak Epperly. Ethan Rodriquez and Bryce Gilliard will join the squad as alternates.

Up north, Columbia Falls added two alternates, safety Justin Windauer and defensive end Brandon Role, while south of Flathead Lake Polson added Trent Wilson as an alternate safety to back up his brother Jarrett Wilson at QB.

The other West roster selections are Bryce Umphrey, a wide receiver from St. Ignatius, linebacker Cy Stevenson of Libby, linebacker Canyon Sargent of St. Ignatius and Thompson Falls cornerback Elijah Ratliff. Additional West team alternates are Jackson Hensley (Glacier) and Gage Sliter (Glacier).

The game also features cheerleaders from throughout the state who have met a high standard of excellence at their respective schools. The players amd cheerleaders are nominated by their schools and coaches across the state, and selected as the “best of the best” to participate in the 76th Montana Shrine Game.

The Montana East-West Shrine Game is a fundraiser for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Spokane, Washington, and organizers say the game has raised nearly $1 million in the last 10 years. The East leads the all-time series 41-34, but the West won last year’s game in Great Falls by a 40-21 margin.

For more information, visit www.montanaeastwestshrinegame.org.