BUTTE — The first all-star football games of the season started with a bang for a pair of western Montana standouts. For the KPAX Youth Sports Spotlight, we highlight those that shined the brightest at the Bob Cleverley 8-Man Classic in Butte over the weekend.
The Blue team, made up of stars from the West and East divisions, hammered the Red from the North and South, 32-7. Darby’s Dylan Parks made the big plays, with two first-half touchdowns. The first went 55 yards and the second 85 yards when he hauled in a high pass intended for a teammate and raced to the end zone.
Many of the stars are heading to play college football soon. But in one of his final football games, Parks brought home the offensive MVP award.
“I wasn’t expecting this, because we have all-stars on our team,” said Parks. “I mean, Landers (Smith) is going here to play at (Montana Tech), and like everyone is going to Minot (State). And it was just fun to play with them. I just happened to have a good game. Great way to end it. I’ll be here for the Shrine Game and playing there. And I’m going to try to do the same thing.”
Parks did the scoring, but Smith did the leading for the Blue team. The Charlo Viking has been an 8-Man star for years. It continued in his final game at that level.
Smith made plenty of big plays at quarterback, but many of his teammates also praised Smith for bringing the group of former rivals together during their week of practice. And the Montana Tech-bound star couldn’t think of a better place to put on a show.
“Being on what I’m going to call my home field for the next four to five years, you know, it feels great, especially with the guys I was with,” said Smith. “I call them family. A lot of them I’ve only known for five days, but they’re my brothers on the football field. And we grind it out. It felt amazing. I’m so happy to start the next chapter of my life at Montana Tech.”
Great Falls Central’s Noah Ambuehl, a future Montana Grizzly, won the Red team’s offensive top honor. Arlee’s Darshan Bolen won the Blue defensive MVP award. The Red defensive MVP went to Joliet’s Grant O’Rourke.