Dillon Koffman walked off the Laurel Sports Complex field a victor Saturday night when his West team downed the East 34-10 in the 68th Montana East-West Shrine football game.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Helena Capital graduate was an offensive guard for his team and said the play of quarterback Jared Trinastich of Columbia Falls and his corps of receivers were too tough to beat.
“We just had a great QB and phenomenal receivers,” Koffman said Sunday at Billings Skyview while practicing with the rest of Team Montana that will be traveling to Germany for a cultural-exchange trip featuring plenty of wrestling July 23 through Aug. 11.
“We went in as underdogs because of (East coach Troy) Purcell from Bozeman and they had bigger kids on their team,” Koffman said. “We bonded well and were the underdogs and wanted to win more than they did.”
Now Koffman, a two-time state placer for the Bruins, faces a camp to prepare Team Montana for freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, which are the two disciplines competed in internationally and thus will be contested in Germany. In the United States, high school and college wrestling is contested in the folkstyle discipline. The camp runs until Tuesday.
“It’s going to be a beating. We practiced from Saturday to Thursday in football and played the game and Sunday to Tuesday is wrestling practice,” Koffman said, adding he is a novice at Greco and freestyle but has competed in folkstyle since third grade. “Two different sports that are different in their ways. I love being active, so I cherish the challenge.”
Keavon Buckley, who won State AA this year at 195 pounds and was second at 189 as a junior, will be wrestling at Boise State. Buckley believes the trip will help his wrestling career, but is more looking forward to touring the country.
Buckley aims to become a history teacher and coach and will major in history. He wants to pay his respects at concentration camps. While in Germany, the team will also visit both a Mercedes-Benz and tractor museum, tour castles and the Munich Olympic Park and enjoy the local food, along with a host of other activities. While they will be wrestling in several duals with a goal of winning, the focus is also to soak in as much of the culture as possible.
“I’m just looking at it as it will give me good experiences to share with everyone,” Buckley said.
Brandon Weber graduated from Forsyth High this year, taking with him three individual state titles and four finals appearances. His brother Matt Weber will be a senior for the Dogies next season and looks to join the elite four-time state champion club. Brandon Weber said both are looking forward to the trip to Germany.
“Just to share the experience with him,” said Brandon of what makes the trip unique. “It’s a trip of a lifetime and good to have someone you know going with you.”
With all the success the Weber family has had on the mats over the years, one would figure they would be hard at it this summer. Brandon said for him that’s not the case. He will be going to Miles Community College in the fall and major in Ag Production/Animal Science and one day wants to run his own ranch.
“I’ve been busy farming and driving tractor and riding horses and helping at a friend’s ranch,” Brandon Weber said. “It’s a summer job for me and I enjoy doing it.
“With agriculture, it’s a full-time thing. It will be nice to get away. I’ll never go to Germany again, so I’m grateful for this opportunity to be able to go.”
Team Montana roster — 110: Danny Maciel, Billings Skyview; 126: Wyatt Van Buren, Sidney; Kasey Seyfert, Glasgow; 132: Luke Cathey, Billings Skyview; 146: Matt Weber, Forsyth; Aaron Gordon, Billings Skyview; Joe Malchuski, Billings Skyview; 155: Jeff Trafelet, Valier; Tyller Cortez, Billings Senior; Braydn Rooks, Sidney; 164: Brandon Weber, Forsyth; Andy Anderson, Butte; Jake Malchuski, Billings Skyview; 176: Luke Entzel, Missoula Big Sky; 190: Keavon Buckley, Bozeman; 212: Dillon Koffman, Helena Capital; Conner Gordon, Missoula Big Sky. Team Leader: Dan Elser, Billings. Coaches: Corey Cortez, Billings; Joe Malchuski, Billings. Referee: Dan Buckley, Bozeman.