Arlee High School football player Darshan Bolen was not only a key to the resurgence of the Warriors’ Montana High School Class C 8-man football team in the playoffs, but also had become an integral part of the Warriors attempt at an MHSA Class C state basketball title.
Bolen finished what became a decorated high school athletic career by capturing the Blue Defensive MVP award during the Bob Cleverley 8-man classic in Butte.
Charlo High School quarterback Landers Smith and Bolen, now signed to play football at Montana Tech University, took advantage of their final game playing in their high school uniforms.
Bolen, along with Warriors’ teammates Chase Gardiner, Lane Schall and Arlee Head coach Chuck Forgey, all were participants in the 8-man football showcase.
Former Vikings’ head coach Mike Krahn, who recently stepped down as coach of the Charlo football program, watched the 8-man all-star showcase from a unique vantage point, as a spectator.
Krahn coached in the all-star game a total of seven times.
Still, he got to see Smith, a player he has coached the last four seasons, and the Arlee players, players he has coached against, playing together on the same team.
The two big Mission-Valley rivals converged their talents together for one final showcase.
“It’s always nice to see Arlee and Charlo kids, which is a pretty big rivalry, get to be teammates,” Krahn said. “Our conference was well represented, and everyone (in our conference) had good games. I think Lane, Chase and Darshan all had two or three interceptions, and it’s always a joy (when you are coaching) in the all-star games like these because you get to see the players in a different light.”
Krahn knows the all-star showcases aren’t just special because of the camaraderie, but also the finality of the event makes the all-star showcase more than just a game.
“It’s neat to see there are a lot of times during your last high school football game that you play a different style of offense and defense than you might have on your home teams,” Krahn said. “In these all-star games, you don’t elect by position. Sometimes you may have eight quarterbacks, and sometimes you might have a team full of linemen. That is because some of the skill kids are juniors and not playing in the game, and kids have to adapt.”
Krahn said he enjoys watching the kids from different areas, backgrounds and teams working together in the all-star showcase.
Krahn enjoys the chemistry the players develop through playing on the same team for the first time in their careers.
“It’s also neat to see kids from the East and West from the other side of the state, and the different styles they both have,” Krahn, who coached in seven Class C, 8-man all star games said.