BUTTE — With family, friends, teammates and coaches adoringly looking on, Dylan Snyder and Casey Kautzman signed their letters of intent to Montana State football Wednesday morning at Butte High's Ross J. Richardson Memorial Gym.
"It's awesome," Kautzman said. "I'm grateful to have all this support. Being a kicker you definitely do a lot of work by yourself, but in the end you have your whole team with you."
Kautzman, a three-time all-state Class AA kicker for Butte, had been in talks with former Montana State special teams coordinator B.J. Robertson since his sophomore year. He said that his dream had shifted into the realm of something that could actually happen when he received a call from Bobcats head coach Brent Vigen in November.
Snyder's signing is just the latest culmination of his journey back from a gruesome leg injury he suffered back in 2019. After breaking his tibia, fibula and damaged part of the growth plate in his ankle, he's fought his way back onto the field and become one of the best players in the state. He was Class AA first-team all-state in 2021, and now he's a Bobcat.
"It's a dream come true playing D1 football," Snyder said. "I've got all my family and teammates here to support me. It's a good feeling, for sure."
A couple of Montana Griz fans growing up, Kautzman and Snyder came around to the idea of becoming Bobcats while in high school. Once they visited the Bozeman campus, it was pretty much a done deal.
"At the beginning of the year I was a Griz fan and (Kautzman) was a Cats fan," Snyder said. "Everyone was telling me how cool the Cats' facilities were and how cool the coaches were. Then I went on a game-day visit and I was like, 'Oh, wow. This place is really cool.' I could see what Casey was talking about."
"We went for the game-day visit and they gave us their spiel, and it was awesome," Dylan's mother Lisa Snyder said. "After that, I said that I would prefer him to come here."
Kautzman, a staunch Griz fan growing up who would wear his Montana jersey while attending Bobcats games, embraced the idea of Montana State around his freshman year of high school, according to his father Brent Kautzman.
"I told him that he could cheer for the Cats when they aren't playing the Griz," Brent Kautzman said with a laugh. "It wasn't until he was a freshman in high school and his now-current girlfriend – they've been together since he was a freshman – was kind of instrumental in getting him to become a Cat.
"With B.J. Robertson following him since he was a sophomore and because he wants to be an engineer, it's a good fit for him."
A proud Bulldogs football coach, Arie Grey, was also in attendance.
"It's a pretty special moment when you look at what they've done," Grey said. "They're both kids that have been dreaming about this opportunity for a long time and have put a lot of time and effort in, in the classroom, weight room and on the field. They represent Butte High really well.
"Dylan plays the game the way it's meant to be played and Casey might be the most dynamic kicker that we've seen, and maybe the state's seen in a while."