HELENA — Coming off of their Class AA state championship last season, the Helena Capital High School Bruins are looking to build up the next generation of football players. However, football dynasties aren't built overnight which is partially why the Bruins work with elementary kids to teach skills and foster a love of the game.
“We’re coming off a state championship year, you know, so we had a lot of success last year, (but) this year is a new story,” said Capital coach Levi Dawes.
Dawes, a former Bruin, was selected first-team all-state as a senior at Capital and played in the Montana East-West Shrine Game. A Montana Tech grad, Dawes is one of the coaches looking after the young cubs.
“The more and more we can get buy-in and get kids locked into what we’re doing, the more they want to be around us, you know, the better. So, just making sure, again, back to that effort and attitude, we’re controlling those things, we’re putting on a good light and we’re truly giving back, this community is phenomenal, they’re going to give back, just providing that excitement, it’s huge," added Dawes.
Dawes is also the older brother of current Capital High senior defensive end, Cole Dawes.
This 2023 youth camp for grades first through eighth is an opportunity for the Bruins to give back to the community of Helena. It also allows these kids participating to learn from the same players they look up to.
Helena Capital's center and defensive tackle Barrett Hageman will be heading into his senior season this fall, and plans to end his high school career on top.
“Do it all over again, you know, that was a good season last year, hopefully we can repeat it (again) this year,” Hageman told MTN Sports.
Only in his second summer coaching at the annual camp, Hageman and his fellow Bruins lead by example, teaching the same youth football camp they attended in their youth.
“(It's) just kind of seeing it both ways, because when I was here, I had Marcus Welnel — No. 37 for the Griz last year — as one of my coaches, (a couple of years ago) when I came to this camp, so it’s good to give back, you know,” added Hageman.
When asked about his experience, “It’s crazy, it was really fast, I did not think when I was coming to this camp as a kid, that I’d be doing this, that soon so, yeah, it’s crazy,” added Hageman.