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GREAT FALLS – Don Saisbury rushed for 77 yards including a late touchdown as the West defeated the East 16-3 in the 55th annual Montana Shrine Bowl Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

Saisbury, of Class AA state champion Helena Capital, scored on a 7-yard run around right end with 3:56 remaining as the West broke a two-game losing skid and narrowed its deficit in the series to 31-24.

The West defense limited the East to 10 first downs and 162 total yards. The East has just 76 yards on 25 plays in the second half, with 51 of those yards coming on the unit’s final possession of the game.

The East’s only points, a 28-yard field goal by Jeff Graham of Chester midway through the first quarter, was set up by the second of three consecutive turnovers by the West. The East offense didn’t have possession of the ball in West territory the remainder of the half.

The West overcame the early turnovers to score on its sixth possession, with Ben Chaet of Helena High capping a six-play drive with a 37-yard field goal.

On the first play following the ensuing kickoff, Matt Bain of Kalispell intercepted a pass at the East 37. Three plays later, Carrier Morrell of Missoula Hellgate scored on a 25-yard run to give the West a 10-3 lead with 6:10 remaining in the second quarter. Chaet added the extra point.

The West sealed the victory by driving 57 yards in nine plays late in the fourth quarter.

“The defense set the tone. It gave us good field position and gave the offense an opportunity to put some points on the board,” said West head coach Terry Thomas, of Dillon.

“The offense moved the ball some, but didn’t take advantage of all its opportunites.”

The West finished with 336 total yards. It rushed for 236 yards and passed for 100.

West quarterback Tyler Thomas, the son of coach Thomas, was named the game’s most valuable player. He rushed for 34 yards and passed for 64.

Defensive end Mark Anderson, of Lewistown, was named the outstanding player for the East. Saisbury was named the outstanding player for the West.

Copyright © 2001, Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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