FootballScrimmage2019_Chisholm

Two University of Montana football players run to catch a ball, narrowly missing as the ball goes out of bounds, during the Montana Griz spring scrimmage on April 5, 2019. 

The Grizzlies’ spring football season concluded Saturday with the annual Spring Game, which pit the Montana starters against the reserves on both sides of the ball. Maroon, comprised mainly of starters, beat Silver 28-17, after getting out to a 28-3 lead.

The game was held at Legends Field in Kalispell for the first time since 2006. The Grizzlies alternate locations every year, holding it in Missoula in even years and choosing another Montana town in odd years. Over 2,500 tickets were sold for the 2019 game with proceeds going to the Grizzly Scholarship Association.

Senior starting quarterback Dalton Sneed only played the first series of the game, but he was sharp. He led a five-play drive, all passes, and his offense flew 65 yards down the field for a touchdown. The score was the first of two touchdowns grabs for junior receiver Samuel Akem, who flashed the big-play ability that earned him the sixth-most touchdowns in the country last season at Citrus College.

Behind Sneed, the quarterbacks performed much better than they have most of this spring. Sophomore Wheeler Harris, a former Alabama walk-on, stole the show late with a 3-for-3 display on the last drive of the game. The third completion was a 65-yard touchdown on a slant route to junior receiver Samori Toure. Toure finished the day with five catches for 99 yards, the most of any player.

Sophomore running back Marcus Knight, who transferred to Montana from a California junior college this winter, was the game’s leading rusher. At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Knight flashed the speed that helped him gain 7.0 yards per carry last season. Saturday, Knight earned 56 yards and a touchdown on six carries, including a 39-yarder.

The most notable stat for the offense might be the zero sacks allowed for by the Griz offensive line, after giving up the fourth-most in Big Sky Conference play last year.

Freshman safety Jace Schneider led the way on defense with eight tackles. Junior cornerback Gavin Crow followed with seven, including one for a loss. Senior cornerback Dareon Nash broke up three passes, and senior safety Josh Sandry grabbed the only interception of the day on a Garrett Graves pass. Sandry returned it 32 yards, setting up redshirt freshman receiver Mitch Roberts’ for a touchdown grab.

The highlight of the day came after the game ended. Senior center Cy Sirmon took a knee at midfield and proposed to his girlfriend in front of a crowd of teammates and fans. She said yes.