By Bill Foley
Bozeman came out on the attack Thursday afternoon, and the Butte High boys’ soccer team couldn’t keep up.
The Hawks, who will head to the Class AA State tournament as the No. 2 seed from the Eastern AA, scored three goals in the first 20 minutes and rolled to an 8-1 win at the Jeremy Bullock Complex.
The victory put a bit of a damper on Senior Day for the Bulldogs.
Larkin Lane scored off a Jack Benston assist to put the Hawks on top for good. Lane then assisted goals by Zack Springer, Brendan Ulvin and Luke Price. Price added a goal off a Ted Scott assist, and the Hawks led 5-0 at the break.
“We were like, ‘We’ve got to practice chasing a game.’ So let’s start the game and play like you’re down,” said Terry, a 2001 Butte High graduate and former Butte High coach.
Though the Bulldogs fell behind 7-0 on two more Springer goals — on assists from Lane and Nolan Robbins — the second half was much better for Butte High.
Justin McNabb booted in Butte’s lone goal in the 54th minute of the match. There was no assist on the goal, but Bulldog head coach Riley McNabb, Justin’s brother, credited Trevyn Roth’s high pressure on the Bozeman backline for the score.
“We came out in a new formation, we contended well defensively,” coach McNabb said of Butte High’s halftime adjustment. “We found the back of the net once. It was a lot better second half.”
Terry, who is in his eighth season leading the Hawks, praised Butte High’s backline.
“They were super organized back there,” Terry said.
“We moved Russell Park back there next to Brandon Quinn,” coach McNabb said. “We put Nick Werkmeister on the outside of them. It seemed a lot more organized, a lot more possessive out of the back.
“We moved Justin McNabb to a defensive center-mid kind of right in front of our back line,” the coach continued. “He kind of shut their forwards down. They weren’t able to receive it and turn on it. It kind of made a huge difference. But we sacrificed offense for defense, which I hate doing. We ended up getting a goal out of it.”
Springer capped the scoring with his fourth goal in the 79th minute of the 80-minute match. Will Kaise assisted.
Coach McNabb praised the play of Erik Rosa in goal, saying the senior won more one-on-one situations than any other Bulldog.
Butte High (4-6-2) will now play Great Falls Russell in a playoff game next week. The winner of that match will go to the Class AA State tournament in Missoula. Where that playoff match will be held, though, is still up in the air.
While the Bulldogs’ regular season is over, CMR has two matches left against Billings Skyview and Billings West. If the Rustlers win one of those matches, they will host the Bulldogs. If they lose both, CMR will head to Butte.
“It’s kind of unfortunate that it’s out of our hands now,” McNabb said. “We’ve just got to hope for the best and go Skyview and West, I guess.”
So Thursday’s match could possibly be the last at the Bullock Complex for eight seniors. They are Jackson Maloney, Logan Johnson, Adam Choquette, Calvin Ball, Shaun Villa, Quinn, Werkmeister and Rosa.
Bozeman closes the regular season at 9-1-2.