BY BLAKE HEMPSTEAD
Turns out this may be how the West has won.
Anaconda’s Sean Gallagher, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound middle linebacker and tight end, got the call Tuesday night and was added to the 70th annual East-West Shrine All Star football game roster.
Initially a reserve for the game highlighting the best football players across Montana, Gallagher was notified by West Team representative Jeff Hartwick he will play either tight end or outside linebacker.
“I’ve been wanting to play ever since I watched Jake Orrino play when I was 10,” Gallagher said. “Also watching Kelly Deeks the same year – I wanted to grow up and be like one of those guys playing in the game. It’s like a dream come true.”
During his senior season, Gallagher led the team in tackles and tackles for loss despite missing one game due to a broken thumb. He played his final six games with a casted right hand and recorded 73 solo and 101 total tackles including 9.0 for loss, averaging 12.6 tackles per game at the Mike. He also recorded three sacks, six QB hurries and four passes defensed and was named to the Class B All State team.
Most recently, Gallagher played in the Class B All Star game at Daylis Stadium in Billings along with teammate Kaden Weis.
That game, while a true accomplishment, didn’t fill the void left while he hoped for the best as an alternate for the West.
“I was still hopeful going into this week, and when I got the call it was like I was on top of the world,” he said.
Gallagher’s lineage in the game is nothing to shy away from either. His father and defensive coordinator for Anaconda High, Pat Gallagher, uncles Mike Gallagher and Shayne Skakles and cousin Dan Gallagher all played in the game. Bill Gallagher, his uncle, was an alternate.
“When you have all of your uncles and your father play in the game, it’s a big deal for me and for them to carry on the tradition,” Sean said.
The game will be played Saturday, July 16 at 7 p.m. Alumni Coliseum on the campus of Montana Tech. All week the Shriners will be holding festivities in Butte, for more information on the parade and other events, go to http://montanaeastwestshrinegame.org