Teammates Became Rivals: Brawl of the Wild Connections | Montana Grizzlies

Of the 209 players on the Montana and Montana State rosters, 83 were teammates at some point at the high school or college level.

One of the coolest aspects of Brawl of the Wild is all the connections that come with it. There are connections between fans, coaches, players; Everyone knows someone close to them on the other side of the rivalry. But how close and how many connections do the players have? It’s even more than you might realize.

There are a total of 209 players on the Montana and Montana State rosters. Of these, 83 of the boys were once teammates at the high school or college level and will now go head-to-head in this week’s 121st edition of the Brawl of the Wild. That’s 40% of the total team lists!

The greatest overlap is with the Montana Grizzlies, as the Bobcats’ current offensive lineman Cole Sain was on the Grizzlies roster along with 16 current Grizzlies in 2018. The best of any single high school is Bozeman at 13.

“Kris Brown, yeah, we both played quarterback together at Bozeman High,” said Bobcats senior linebacker Callahan O’Reilly. “There’s not much talk.”

“Looking back, you know we shared a lot of experiences with those guys,” said Griz sophomore quarterback Kris Brown. “Played with them and (now) just competed against them, it’s different.”

No other high school is as far as former teammates in the double digits. There are three schools that are the next highest with six players: these are Sentinel, Helena High and Billings West. After that, surprisingly, it’s the University of Nebraska. The Griz have three former Huskers while the Cats have one.

“Yeah, it’s pretty funny,” said former Nebraska cornhusker and current bobcat David Alston. “I was actually a bit of an AJ Forbes roommate, so we know each other pretty well. I also know Chris and Garrett so it’s definitely weird because they’re guys you know but just with the passion of the rivalry you try and just ignore that for the game.”

“It’s the Brawl of the Wild,” former Cornusker and current Grizzly AJ told Forbes. “I mean we don’t have a positive opinion of them and I’m sure they don’t have a positive opinion of us.”

There are three schools that have a trio of boys playing together: Red Lodge, Huntley Project, and Washington’s Camas High School.

One thing is for sure, the dynamic of the rivalry is definitely changing things up.

“Yes, I mean, it’s interesting,” explained David Koppang, current Grizzlies security man and former Missoula Loyola star. “You go through high school, you form really good relationships with friends and you make all these memories. Then you go to the other side of the state or this side of the state, and you just don’t really talk as much as you used to because it’s such a big deal and it’s true. I mean, you’re a griz or you’re a cat… so it’s fun and unique.

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