After rolling out a stream of our high school football team rankings, SBLive Montana now turns its attention to the best high-profile positional players in the state of Montana.
First stop – top quarterbacks.
The main criteria for these top players are statistics and coaches recommendation to SBLive Montana correspondent Doug Drowley. Players are listed in alphabetical order:
TOP 15 QUARTERBACKS IN MONTANA
Jake Casagranda, Bozeman, junior
First-year starter has stepped into the role of leader and impressed teammates and coaches, backing it up on the field by completing 68.2 percent of his passes (103-for-151), which would be the third-highest single-season mark in state history. Has 1,266 yards and 14 touchdowns in six games.
Kee Christiansen, Beaverhead County, sophomore
The only sophomore in this group has the Beavers at 4-2 and in the playoff hunt while throwing for 1,055 yards and seven touchdowns over the team’s first six games.
Isaiah Claunch, Billings West, senior
Has led the Rams with 1,179 yards and 16 touchdowns in a senior season that the team hopes will end one spot higher than in 2020, when Billings West lost to Sentinel in the ‘AA’ title game.
Zac Crews, Sentinel, senior
One of the best athletes in the state moved to quarterback this season, and continues to be a prolific dual threat. Has thrown for 606 yards and six touchdowns, while adding 400 yards and four more scores on the ground.
Connor Dick, Hellgate, junior
One of four quarterback in the state with more than 100 completions after six weeks, he has thrown for a ‘AA’ classification-leading 1,695 yards. Also has 18 touchdown passes to go with 314 yards and four touchdowns rushing.
Patrick Duchien Jr., Florence-Carlton, junior
Leads the top-ranked Class B Falcons, playing for his former quarterback father, and has thrown for 1,091 yards and 15 touchdowns in just four games so far this fall.
Kaden Huot, Helena, senior
The University of Montana commit has had his ups and downs in what still could be a season filled with promise. He’s thrown for the second-most yards in ‘AA’ (1,332) through the first six games, and has 16 passing touchdowns. He’s also added 427 yards and six more scores rushing.
Braedon Mikkelson, Gallatin, senior
Won a battle with fellow senior Jake Vigen to retain starting position before the season began, which led to partnering with sophomore running back brother Bryce in Raptors’ backfield. Has tossed 14 touchdown passes while completing 82 of 146 passes for 1,103 yards so far this fall.
Kyson Moran, Laurel, senior
Already a state champion from 2020, he is again leading a Locomotives team that is unbeaten through the first half of the season. Responsible for 14 touchdowns (12 passing, two rushing) and 910 yards of total offense in 2021.
Fynn Ridgeway, Whitefish, junior
Has the Bulldogs off to a 6-0 start in the West, leading the offense with 855 yards and 11 touchdowns passing while running the ball for 228 yards and another score.
Tyson Rostad, Hamilton, senior
A dual threat from under center who may be even better defensively. Completed 63 of 96 passes (65.6 percent) for 948 yards and 13 touchdowns, while adding 312 yards and nine more scores rushing.
Gage Sliter, Glacier, junior
Navigating an offense that consistently puts up numbers each week, Sliter has thrown for 860 yards and eight touchdowns over the first five games.
Jace Stenson, Butte, junior
Even with a first West region loss a week ago, he has the Bulldogs in position for a postseason run having completed 77 of 129 passes for 1,023 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Cole Taylor, Russell, junior
Talented enough to move senior Raef Newbrough to wide receiver to give the Rustlers a better chance to win, and has thrown for 1,314 yards and 12 touchdowns as Russell already has equaled its most wins since 2015.
Jarrett Wilson, Polson, junior
Enjoying a historic season (1,786 yards) – and is one pace to set new single-season Montana state records for completion percentage (currently 70.9 percent), touchdown passes (29 in five games), and yards passing per game (second at 357.2 per game).
(Featured photo courtesy of Jarrett Wilson)