GREAT FALLS – Future Montana Grizzly Brady Gustafson threw for two touchdowns Saturday, helping the East All-Stars to their first win in the Montana East-West Shrine Game since 2008, 23-12.
Gustafson, who’ll join the Griz in August, also had three interceptions in a game filled with turnovers and blocked kicks.
The West took a 6-0 lead after Gustafson’s first pass bounced off his intended receiver and was intercepted by Twin Bridges’ Trent Lott.
J.T. Linder of Dillon hit Butte’s Kyle Shaw for 21 yards and a TD not two minutes into the game.
Gustafson countered with a 24-yard pass to his Billings West teammate, Dayce Van Zee, a couple minutes later. That began a string of 23 straight points by the winners.
Gustafson added a 10-yard strike to his future Griz teammate, Ryan Burke of Billings Central, in the second quarter to put the East up 13-6.
The lead grew to 20-6 after Chinook’s Jorrell Jones blocked a punt for the East, which recovered inside the West’s 5-yard line. Billings Senior’s Chad Newell crashed in from 1 yard out to put the East up by two touchdowns with 2:27 left in the first half.
The scoring slowed down in the second half, though the East went up 23-6 in the fourth quarter on a 23-yard field goal by Fairfield’s Collin Allen.
The West finally got on the scoreboard again with a 64-yard bomb from Polson’s Vince DiGiallonardo to Kalispell Flathead’s George Sherwood with 5:30 to play.
West then kept the ball when Missoula Hellgate’s Zach Peevey recovered his own onside kick. But on its next play from scrimmage, Miles City linebacker Colton Johnson picked off a pass. The East then ran out the clock.
Gustafson threw for 192 yards; two of his interceptions came on tipped balls. He was named offensive most valuable player for the East while Newell, who ran for 67 yards, was named the game’s overall MVP.
Helena Capital’s A.J. Wilson and Butte Central’s Zach Kasperick also had interceptions for the West, which was outgained 332-183 in total yardage.
The East also picked off three passes and moved its lead in the series to 37-29. It also made a winner of retiring Billings Senior coach Mark Sulser, who was guiding the East in his final game.
West 6 0 0 6 – 12
East 6 14 0 3 – 23
W – Shaw 21 pass from Linder, 13:20 (kick blocked)
E – Van Zee 24 pass from Gustafson, 9:20 (kick blocked)
E – Burke 10 pass from Gustafson, 8:19 (Allen kick)
E – Newell 1 run (Allen kick), 2:27
E – Allen 23 field goal, 6:53
W – Sherwood 64 pass from DiGiallonardo (run failed), 5:35
First downs 10 11
Penalties-yards 5-61 6-47
Fumbles-lost 3-3 0-0
Passing 17-27-3 16-31-3
Passing yards 103 195
Rushes-yards 38-82 29-137
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