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The Rivalry- Heppner’s Kick

Mano a Mano (Photo courtesy Todd Goodrich UM Relations)

There are two kicks in Montana football that have gone down in Griz history;  The Kick by Andy Larson in the 1995 NCAA 1-AA National Championship game against Marshall University, final score 22-20 Montana. The other came two years later in Bozeman. I was at the game watching from the press box.

The Cats scored a go ahead touchdown with :22 on the clock, the score was 25-24 MSU.  The ensuing Bobcat kickoff goes out of bounds. Montana has the ball on their own 35. Griz QB Brian Ah Yat throws a prayer to Justin Olsen of Helena, who makes a spectacular over the shoulder catch. The ball is on the Cats 19, there’s :04 on the clock. Sophomore kicker Kris Heppner of Great Falls walks on the field. The Bobcat fans are going nuts, the noise is deafening. MSU calls three successive timeouts trying to “ice” him. Finally the ball is snapped, Raul Pacheco places the ball and Heppner boots it through the uprights as time expires,  final score Montana 27, MSU 25. The snapper on the kick was Eric Manzanarez from Great Falls. He was also the snapper for Andy Larson’s winning kick back in ’95.

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