MISSOULA — Few states around the country still offer 6-man football as a sanctioned high school sport, but the world will get to see just how talented one of those young men is come mid-January.
Colten Curry, a 6-man product out of Valier who's pledged to play tight end for Montana next fall, will have his talents on display in the International Bowl at AT&T Stadium — home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Curry and USA Football's under-18 national team play Canada at 7 p.m. MDT Jan. 17.
"I think it's really sweet to be able to play on the national football team and represent my country and be able to play against some of the best guys in the country and world," Curry said in a phone call Wednesday afternoon. "It's gonna be fun to see how I play out with these guys, see if I can compete. Inside I know I can, it's just a matter of going and doing it."
Curry said roughly 10,000 kids tried out for the team. 51 made the final U-18 roster.
Trying out for the team happens in stages.
The first part was a two-day regional development camp last spring. Curry went to the Los Angeles location.
"I just went in thinking, 'I'm just going to do my best and try my hardest, see what happens,'" Curry said.
There, the participants did several drills and were evaluated.
Curry graded out well enough to make the second part — the five-day national development games. Curry went to Davis, California, for the second round. He said around 200 people participated.
"I went in with the same mindset, see if I could go play with some of these guys," Curry said. "Then I think it was three to four months later I got another email saying that I got invited to (the International Bowl). It was pretty crazy.
"I'm really excited to do this."
Curry is the only person from Montana on the roster.
He said he's known for quite a while, and was waiting for the news release to come out before he said anything.
"I've been really anxious, but I've been trying to keep it quiet," he said.
This U-18 team is helmed by Matt Gegenheimer, who coaches at Prior Lake High School in Savage, Minnesota. He's been a coach for 13 seasons and has led his team to the state playoffs four times.
“It is a great honor to lead our Under-18 National team comprised of extraordinary student-athletes,” Gegenheimer said in a news release. “The U.S. National Team program continues to elevate itself year after year, and I look forward to continuing its rich tradition and proudly representing the United States this January.”
One thing Curry's excited for is the chance to work with new coaches and learn from them, considering he's only played in a handful of 11-man games.
"It'll help me learn the game a lot more," Curry said of the upcoming experience. "There's some great coaches there too that really help. That's what I like a lot."