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A Montana Grizzly a decade in the making

Updated: Jun. 20, 2021 at 11:09 PM CDT
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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) -Playing college football at the Division-I level is special for anyone. For recent Rhinelander graduate Quinn Lamers, special is an understatement because his next stop has seemed like destiny for over a decade.

Lamers turned a 14-5 record as Rhinelander’s starting quarterback into a scholarship offer to play for his dream school: Montana.

“As far as bigger name schools, it was Montana, and that’s where I really wanted to be,” says Lamers of his recruiting process. So, I couldn’t be happier with where I ended up.”

What drew him to Big Sky Country? It starts with a man named Marc Mariani

Mariani is Montana’s all-time leading receiver who also played six years in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl with the Tennessee Titans as a kick returner as a rookie in 2010.

Most importantly to Lamers, Mariani is his cousin.

“For most kids, you idolized athletes growing up,” Lamers says. “But for me, it was a little different having it be my cousin and someone that I can look up to and talk to about things like that.”

If you step into Lamers’ childhood room, filled with Montana memorabilia and decorations, you get the sense of how long he’s wanted to go there.

“Watching him (Mariani) play at Montana ended up being my first visit to Montana,” Lamers says.

That first visit came when Lamers was seven, a lot has changed since then.

“To be honest with you, I see a lot of myself in Quinn,” Mariani says. “But if I had to tell you it, he’s probably a much better athlete than I was at this point in his career.”

Mariani sparked Lamers’ dream to play for Montana.

“He was definitely an instrumental part of my recruiting process,” Lamers says.

But as far as the heavy lifting goes?

“It’s been all him man,” Mariani says of his younger cousin. “He put the film out there, he performed when the lights were on.”

A decade after the future Grizzly watched the former Grizzly play for the first time, the two of them have another Montana chapter to look forward to.

“The fact that the pieces all fell into place and that’s where Quinn has decided to go pursue the next level is just fantastic,” Mariani says. “I’m just really thrilled and very excited.”

“For a lot of kids, they might want to work for it, or they know what they want to do, but they never really know how to get there or who to talk to to get there,” says Lamers. “I was extremely thankful to have him during the process, and someone that I could look up to and help me through all of this.”

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