LAUREL — The West team dominated through the air, scoring 34 unanswered points to win the 68th annual Montana East-West Shrine Game 34-10 on Saturday at Laurel High School.
Columbia Falls quarterback Jared Trinastich, headed to Montana Western in the fall for basketball, made good use of his last time on the gridiron. The Wildcat signal caller threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns, earning the Roger Silvernale Memorial Award as the game’s most outstanding player.
The East took advantage of momentum early, scoring a field goal on its first trip down the field, and getting a boost from the West after a promising drive was flipped when the first long pass from Trinastich sailed and was intercepted by Bozeman’s Wyatt David.
Butte quarterback Dallas Cook, who set nearly every state passing record in his distinguished career, got the West on the board, connecting with Helena’s Troy Arntson for 20 yards over the middle and watched as the speedy receiver, who will play at Carroll in the fall, ran another 58 up the seam for the score. Polson’s Brady Hislop connected on the extra point, and four of five in the game, to give the West a 7-3 lead with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
The tide turned quickly, keyed by defensive pressure from a defense led by Whitefish’s Calub Thilmony. Starting at middle linebacker, Thilmony and the West stymied the East at every turn for the rest of the half.
After forcing a three-and-out, Trinastich led the West offense down the field and found former rival Sean Foley of Whitefish on a 22-yard hook to the front corner of the end zone for the team’s second touchdown of the quarter.
Trinastich got it rolling again late in the second quarter, connecting on a fourth down pass to move the ball inside the East 5-yard line. Two plays later, he found Sentinel tight end Tyler Richtmyer leaking out on a play action pass for a four-yard touchdown to give the West a 20-3 lead with less than a minute in the half.
Trinastich finished the first half 11 for 13 passing with 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The West kept the pressure on after the break.
Glacier running back Noah James, who is headed to Montana State, showed he was fully recovered from a leg injury that ended his season in the fall. He punched in a touchdown for the West from a yard out with 4:07 in the third quarter to give the West a 27-3 lead.
Cook connected with Sentinel’s Alex Mustard on a 15-yard touchdown in the final minute of the third to give the West its largest lead of the game.
Backed up to its own goal line with less than six minutes in the game, the East showed signs of life. Bozeman’s Will Weyer, who is headed to Montana, pulling off a hard play action that fooled the entire defense before connecting with Levi Lynde for a 99-yard touchdown, the longest play in Shrine Game history.
Thilmony was named the West defensive MVP, with Cook taking offensive honors. Bozeman running back Hunter Gappmayer was the East offensive MVP and CMR’s Alex Thomas the defensive MVP.
Also on the roster from the area were Flathead offensive tackle Adam Bradley, Glacier offensive tackle Zach Dennehy, Glacier cornerback Evan Epperly and Whitefish cornerback David Rizzolo.
West 34, East 10
West 13 7 14 0 — 34
East 3 0 0 7 — 10
East -- Grant Linde 37 field goal, 8:53
West -- Troy Arntson 78 pass from Dallas Cook (Brady Hislop kick), 3:40
West -- Sean Foley 22 pass from Jared Trinastich (kick failed), 1:12
West -- Tyler Richtmyer 4 pass from Trinastich (Hislop kick), :53
West -- Noah James 1 run (Hislop kick), 4:07
West -- Alex Mustard 15 pass from Cook (Hislop kick), :39
East -- Levi Lynde 99 pass from Will Weyer (Linde kick), 5:41