BUTTE, Mont. — It’s not too often that you get the opportunity to coach or play football alongside your rivals. But on Saturday, the top athletes in the 8 Men’s Division will do just that for the annual All-Star Game, known simply as “The Clev.”
The mining town will get one last taste of spring football with the 38th Annual Bob Cleverly Game, a classic Team Red vs. Team Blue battle on Bob Green Field, featuring All-Star representation from Class C teams such as Flint Creek, Park City, Culbertson, Scobey and defending champions Thompson Falls, to name a few.
And when the state’s top players come together in the more open 8-man format, the scoreboard can fill up pretty quickly.
“Height-man is a little more offensive,” said Brock Berryhill, head coach of Scobey and the All-Star Game Red team. “You still have to play good defense to win, but it’s a bit more open space. And if you have quick guys and you can have them in 1-on-1 situations, then you’re going to score points. .”
Of course, that’s easier said than done. As talented as these players are, they don’t get much playing time together – only five days of training before the big game.
And it’s the coaches’ responsibility to make it all work.
“We only have eight practices,” said Mark Rathbun, head coach of Scobey and the All-Star Game blue team. “To have it all come together and they’re all on the same page, running the same offense and defense, that’s the cool part – when it all falls into place.”
And while time together on the court is crucial to a functioning All-Star team, time off the court is just as valuable.
“Personally, you have to gel with [the others] off the field,” said Aiden Perkins, a senior center and defensive tackle for Culbertson and the red team. “All those times when we don’t practice, we have to get to know each other in the dorms.
“Just understanding the concepts is what practice is for,” Perkins continued. “But the real stuff is off the field when you meet new people.”
“The guys here, they’re all great,” said Trae Thilmony, senior running back and linebacker for Thompson Falls and the blue team. “I spent some time with them, and we all traded stickers and weird stories.”
“We’re ready to go, and we’re excited, waking up every morning feeling unsafe,” Thilmony continued.
As Saturday’s colorful clash approaches, there’s only one thing on every player’s mind.
“Winning,” Perkins said. “Winning with my teammates. One more last victory because [Culbertson] I didn’t win our last game, so I hope to get a win in this one.”
The game is open to the public at Bob Green Field and begins Saturday, June 4 at 7 p.m.
Full rosters and coaches for the Red Team and Blue Team can be found here: