MISSOULA, Mont. — These past few months have been wild, said former Wenatchee Panthers QB Camden Sirmon, who last month led Missoula Sentinel to a perfect 10-0 season and its first State AA football championship in 48 years.
Sirmon, who transferred from Wenatchee to the Garden City in July, was named Offensive MVP before committing to the University of Montana just 12 hours after winning the title.
“It’s just a perfect ending to a crazy story,” said Sirmon, who follows in the footsteps of his brother Cy, who played for the Griz from 2015-19, and his uncle David, who suited up for UM in the mid-1990s.
Sirmon was a first-team, All-Big 9 selection for the Panthers his junior year after throwing for 1,893 yards, 20 TDs and three interceptions. He also rushed for 414 yards and five TDs. But with all the uncertainty surrounding Washington football — which is still in question — Sirmon, who held offers from the Colorado School of Mines and a few other Division II schools, opted to transfer to Missoula to ensure himself a fall season.
“I (was) told by many coaches at the Division I level that I needed my senior year,” Sirmon told the World in July. “Most people say, 'Why can’t you wait until spring?' I understand that. The national signing days are in December and February. (And) whoever schools have offered, they could just sign those kids. I really need a fall season to have an opportunity.”
In hindsight, it was a smart decision, Sirmon said. Not only did he help lead his team to a state title, his older brother Cy also got to watch every snap; playing in Montana the past four years, he wasn’t privy to Friday night games in Wenatchee.
“If I hadn’t (transferred), I would not be in this position at all,” he said. “It was a hard process for sure moving to a different state, but everything worked out so well, it was freaky. Looking back at it now, it was fate.”
Sirmon wasn’t handed the starting quarterback job once he got to Missoula Sentinel; he had to compete against fellow senior Dayton Bay, who was the Spartans’ signal-caller in 2019. But eventually, Sirmon was given the nod, and a two-series-to-one ratio every game.
Coming into the championship, Sirmon had completed 68% of his passes for 839 yards, 11 TDs and one interception. He also carried the ball 85 times for 795 yards and 11 TDs, all of which were team-highs.
In the championship, Sirmon completed 8-of-16 passes for 110 yards while Bay tossed a trio of TDs and finished 9-of-13 passing for 136 yards as the Spartans topped Billings West 24-15.
In victory, Sirmon recalled the moment as being so surreal … a childhood dream accomplished.
He said reality didn’t hit until the following day.
“We had talked about winning a state title the entire season and of course you dream of winning one all your life,” Sirmon said. “I couldn’t process it; it was just a big ball of emotion. It was huge for the school and after we came back to Missoula we had a fire truck and police car parade. There are three high schools in Missoula but the community really rallied behind us. And 48 years is a long time. It was really cool to be apart of that.”
Committing to the Griz the next day was the cherry on top.
Sirmon said Montana had been quietly recruiting him since his sophomore year at Wenatchee. And he’s wanted to go there since he watched his brother’s first game against North Dakota State.
So once Montana reached out to him, Sirmon said that was the only conversation he needed. He was staying in Missoula.
Now his brother Cy can stroll over to Washington-Grizzly stadium to watch his brother play on Saturday nights. Grizzly football is one of the biggest attractions in the state — given that there are no professional sports franchises in Montana.
“That’s definitely something to keep in mind because if I went to Eastern, they have WSU right there, Gonzaga and even UW to a lesser extent,” Sirmon said. “Between them and the Seahawks and Sounders, there are so many teams to pay attention to in Washington. Here in Montana, the Griz are the ‘big dogs,’ and Big Sky football is the biggest thing around. I’m super excited.”
Sirmon said he visited Wenatchee a couple of weeks ago and got to spend some time with his old friends. While he admitted that he has missed them over the past few months, he’s also happy in Missoula.
“Life just takes you where it takes you,” Sirmon said, channeling his inner Yogi Berra.