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Idaho Enterprise

MMS students headed to 2024 Idaho Bowl

Most often, this limited space of The Idaho Enterprise is dedicated to the sports activities of the varsity teams.  With so many great athletes participating in a number of sports with a full schedule of games, covering what happens on every field and every court just can’t happen.  But once in a while there are momentous days, when it doesn’t matter what level the game is being played at, that will always be worth mentioning.

In just a few short weeks, six Malad middle school athletes will participate in the inaugural games of the 2024 Idaho Bowl.  After years of success running the Oregon All-Star game for the very best middle school aged football players, Idaho Bowl Executive Director Laif Morrison put his energy towards giving Idaho youth the same opportunity.

After ironing out the details of the games, the official word was finally put out that the very best of Idaho’s 6th, 7th and 8th grade teams across the state, with no regard to team numbers or classification, would have the chance to play together in an ultimate matchup.  With the date set for June 29th, nominations were opened in August of 2023 with thousands of clips, highlight videos and recommendations piling in.

Among them were a number of nominations from Malad’s own youth program.  Many will recall the exciting year of big wins the various teams had, including the first ever Malad football championship win by the 6th grade team as they competed in the Southeast Idaho Youth Football American Conference League.  In attendance of those big wins were a number of scouts looking to invite young football stars to the first ever Idaho Bowl.

Sifting through the high volume of nominations, the committee selected nearly 250 players to fill the positions of the two opposing teams at each grade level.  Of those selected six athletes were chosen from among Malad’s teams, including 6th graders Sawyer Beutler, Jett Miller and Weston Bates, 7th grader Riggin Montgomery, and 8th graders Mason Ball and River Taylor.

These young athletes have been given a once in a lifetime experience as they have been invited to the campus of Boise State University to play with and be coached by some truly great football players.  They can expect to see college level coaches and athletes, NFL stars and legendary players.  Leading up to the games, they will have five practices to work on the mechanics of the game, learn their plays and mesh together as a team.  

The Malad youth coaches were proud and amazed that of the 75 schools with athletes being selected to play in the bowl game, that not one or even two of their players were chosen, but six!  They said, “It is amazing to think of all the roster spots, six will be going to boys from our 2A school.  They are about to have high level coaching in a high level experience that will help them grow immensely as players.”

Sawyer Beutler, playing in the 6th grade game as quarterback and linebacker has really only been playing football for just a couple of years.  His keen athletic mind and high sports IQ have led him to become an indispensable player for Malad.  His coaches shared that as he began to really understand the game, he could almost read the mind of his coaches, knowing just what the situation demanded on the field.  They also pointed out what a great leader Beutler has become, keeping a calm and steady demeanor on the field to keep he and his team always focused on the play at hand.

Also playing in the Idaho Bowl 6th grade game will be Jett Miller, taking his position at center on the offensive line and at defensive end.  His coaches explained that center was definitely not the position Miller was hoping to play.  But when they asked him to step into that role, he readily agreed, putting his team's needs before his own wants.  Not only were his coaches impressed with his team first attitude, but they recognized a consistency on the field that they would eventually lean on throughout their games.  While his role might not have been the most flashy, he played a crucial part in their success.

Weston Bates will round out the Malad players competing in the 6th grade game, coming in to play at running back, wide receiver and defensive end.  The Malad youth coaches saw in Bates a kind of grit and determination that can’t be taught in an athlete.  Game after game, play after play, Bates proved to be a different kind of beast on the field, never giving up until he succeeded with his objective.

Riggin Montgomery will play in the 7th grade game as quarterback, running back, defensive back, and linebacker.  Montgomery isn’t just a great football player, but a well rounded athlete in several sports.  Regardless of what he is playing, his immense skill and ability always prove him to be a top tier athlete and competitor.  What is even better is that he comes to every practice and game coachable, ready to learn- a very rare trait in youth sports. 

Mason Ball, playing in the 8th grade game will step on the field as center and linebacker. Ball has played four all for a number of years and has stood out as a leader in the field, a quality that will serve him well in the Idaho Bowl.  

The final Malad football star to play in Boise will be River Taylor, also playing in the 8th grade game. Taylor’s positions will include playing tight end, offensive line, defensive line, and defensive end. If there is one descriptor his coaches would use for him, it would be hard hitter, in every sense of the term. He never pulls back, never lets up and plays coming at his opponent at full speed. 

The future of Malad football is surely going to be bright with such rising stars on the roster.  With continued experience and coaching, the sky's the limit with these young talented players.

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