A legendary comeback

Sept. 19, 2012 — This Friday night Butte Central and Anaconda renew their rivalry on the football field. It will be the 87th meeting between the two schools. The series started in 1914 with the Copperheads beating the Maroons 14-0. Through the years, there have been many hard-fought games. One contest though has become a game of legendary status because of how it ended. The game took place twenty years ago on October 2, 1992, at East Junior High Stadium in Butte. The lead in the Central A conference was on the line as the unbeaten Maroons battled Anaconda. The first half was a defensive struggle. The only score in the twenty-four minutes came on a 1-yard run by Anaconda quarterback Ike Heaphy. The Copperheads led 6-0 when the two clubs went to their locker rooms. Butte Central tied the Copperheads in the third period when Brodie Kelly tallied on a 7-yard run. The rest of the third quarter belonged to Ike Heaphy and the Anaconda offensive. Heaphy connected with Mark Matosich on a 36-yard scoring strike. Heaphy came back to score on an 88-yard run. By the end of the period, Anaconda was in command leading 20-6. Butte Central tried to make a comeback. Brodie Kelly scored on an 11-yard run to slice the Copperheads’ lead down to 20-12. Ike Heaphy was a single-man wrecking crew for the Maroons come back. He hit Ethan Trent on an 11-yard pass to push the Anaconda lead out to 15 points at 27-12 with only 3:52 seconds left in the game. It appeared the contest was over. Someone forgot to tell that to the Butte Central Maroons. Two plays after the Anaconda touchdown, RJ Olsen hit Cam McQueary on a 36-yard touchdown pass. The Maroons elected to go for two. They got the conversation on a run by Brodie Kelly. The Anaconda lead was down to seven at 27-20. All the Copperheads had to do was convert a first down and the game would be over, however, the Maroons stuffed the Anaconda drive. They forced Anaconda to punt the ball away. Butte Central had one final chance starting at their 30-yard line with less than two minutes to play. The Maroons produced one of their magical drives down the field. In seven plays, Butte Central went down the field for a score. Brodie Kelly scored from the 2-yard line with 31 seconds to go in the game. Rather than kick the extra point and go into overtime, Butte Central head coach Don Peoples elected to go for two. RJ Olsen faked a dive play to Brodie Kelly rolled to his right and connected with Cam McQueary in the right corner of the end zone. The Maroons had scored 16 points in 3 minutes and 23 seconds. Butte Central was now on top 28-27. The Maroons held Anaconda to complete a miracle comeback. It was one of the most amazing comebacks of all time. Butte Central tallied two scores and converted a pair of two-point conversions in the last four minutes of the game. A sure Copperhead win had turned into one of Anaconda’s most bitter defeats at the hands of their arch-rival. For the Maroons it was a comeback they still talk about today. In the history of this series, only one other game in 1933, when Anaconda won 7-6,  has this contest been decided  by one point. Butte Central went on to play in the state finals that year, while Copperhead players and fans have lived with victory that somehow got away. It all happened twenty years ago on October 2, 1992.