BUTTE — Bryce Carver and the Hamilton Broncs put together an undefeated season this past fall en route to a Class A state football championship.
And after all of that success, Carver is now a head coach in the 75th annual East-West Shrine Game as he's leading the western all-stars. It's a game Carver himself played in back in 2009 coming out of Beaverhead High School before he joined the Montana Grizzlies as a wide receiver.
"It's a very special opportunity," Carver said from Shrine practice on Monday. "The more you're here, the more you're around you really hear more stories and you get to see more Shrine kids that get to reap the benefits of the game and they're able to get a chance to live their best possible life and they just do it unbelievably and so when you get to see that stuff, football gets to be not that big of a deal."
This will be Carver's third year coaching in the East-West Shrine Game but first as head coach, and he said the players assembled this year have been easy to coach and work with.
"This is about the best group that we've had mesh as a team this quickly," Carver said. "They all get along, we have a lot of guys from around the same area so they know each other before, so it's been great. Kids have gotten along really well. They're picking up what we're trying to teach them well and that's the best part when kids are open to new things."
Among those on the roster are three Hamilton Bronc players in Tyson Rostad (QB), Tim Zohner (RB) and Jonas Johnson (C), with all three getting one more game with their high school head coach to relive some of their success.
"Me and Carver are pretty close," Rostad said. "There's only so many coaches in the state that are selected for this, and for him to be selected as a head coach, and even have our defensive coordinator here, it just means a lot."
Plus, Carver is getting a chance to coach with his dad, Brett, who is an assistant football coach in Dillon.
It all comes after Hamilton went 11-0 this past year and won the Class A football title for the first time since 1998.
The East-West Shrine Game now caps what has been a special year for Carver on the football field.
"When we had success in our own season I was kind of hoping I'd get the call. I've wanted to be a head coach in this game since I did it the first time since playing it," Carver said. "And it's exciting, it's something you don't turn down when you get that opportunity because it's very special and I was thrilled when that happened and so very excited."