In 2020, the University of Montana Grizzly football spring scrimmage was planned for the brand new football field at Hamilton High School. Then, along came the COVID pandemic and the event was cancelled.

The delay is over - the UM Grizzly Spring Football Scrimmage will be Friday evening, April 8, at the Hamilton Athletic Complex and it will be "under the lights" on the artificial turf field. The gates will open at 4:30 p.m. at the complex on Kurtz Lane and the team takes to the field an hour later for pre-game drills, with the lights coming on for four 15-minute quarters of football, starting at 6 p.m. The scrimmage includes referees and a "running clock."

Lots of extra fun, including a certain Griz mascot

Rick Lubke of the Bitterroot Chapter of Grizzly Athletic Association said the evening will be filled with extras - including a raffle for a gameday helmet, a signed Griz football and a Gameday package to this fall's UM-Eastern Washington game at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The Monte Griz Cheer Squad will be selling programs, and there will be 50-50 raffle. And, yes, Monte will be there, so expect surprises.

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There will be an extended halftime with a 40-yard dash between Griz and local kids, Griz linemen attempting to catch punts, and more. After the scrimmage, fans will be able to meet the players on the field and get autographs.

Lubke said Hamilton's Nap's Grill will be providing a pre-game meal for the team. At the field, the fans will be able to buy food from Hamilton High School concessions stand and two food trucks - Polka Dot Patty Wagon and Country Kitchen Montana.

Advance tickets have been available, but starting Monday they'll be available at the Hamilton High School office. By the way, an advance ticket will get you into the stands quickly at a special entry gate. If you can't get to the game, TV's SWX channel will televise the event, including commentary from Griz broadcasters Riley Corcoran, Shaun Rainey and Grady Bennett.

There won't be a tailgate gathering prior to the game, but nearby Bitterroot Brewery will have a Griz Social from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with $1 from each beer going to GSA. Lubke thanked the sponsors for the Hamilton scrimmage - main sponsor Trailwest Bank, Naps Grill, Donaldson Bros Readi-Mix, Kerry Hanson of PureWest Christie's International Real Estate, Stevens Concrete Construction, Taylor King of State Farm Insurance, Bitterroot Health, Bitterroot Brewing, Coca Cola High Country Distributing and the Hamilton School District and Hamilton High School.

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