Ball’s in the air at Butte High football scrimmage

By Bruce Sayler

Butte High football fans got a glimpse at an outline Friday night while the full story will develop as the season progresses.
The Bulldogs will open their Class AA high school season next Friday at Billings West in non -conference play.
Friday night, they unveiled this year’s Butte High team to a large anticipating crowd at Naranche Stadium. A capable passing attack was featured, though head coach Arie Grey said that was not necessarily by design.
“A couple of times the quarterbacks were pulling it out and throwing the ball instead of handing it off,” Grey said with a smile.
Excitement seemed to rule the field. Senior quarterback Bo Demarais looked confident and quite competent in the offense as he inherits the role from graduated Jace Stenson, now at Montana Tech. Sophomore tight end Hudson Luedtke, All-State as a freshman, drew the spotlight with some catches and runs. He had a touchdown on defense, returning a pick 25 yards from his linebacker position.
Demarais, junior Colton Shea and sophomores Brooks Vincent and Jeremiah Johnson alternated at quarterback. Wyatt Gross scored a 4-yard touchdown on a carry, tunneling with his 5-foot-4-inch, 140-pound body through the center of the line behind some good blocking. Returning starter Brett Polich anchored the line at center. Gunner Bushman, Karson Pumnea and Jay Tierney also shared ball-carrying duties.
Luedtke was joined in the pass grabs by senior Will Taylor, junior Nathan Kite, senior Koby Hanni, junior Sam Sampson and junior Tocher Lee.
“Anytime you get a chance to work out on the field, it is good,” Grey said about the scrimmage. “We worked on a lot of fundamentals.”
An important aspect to the drills, Grey said, was in collecting film on so many players. The film will be used in the teaching part of the coaching duties.
“The kids are fun to be around,” Grey said.
Gross’ TD was the first of the night and Shea followed three possessions later by breaking 80 yards after being chased out of the pocket. Luedtke’s touchdown interception was next. The last touchdown was a 30-yard interception return by junior linebacker Braydon Pierce.
One touchdown pass was dropped in the end zone, and Bushman and senior DB returning starter Grady Winston both had interceptions.
“It’s still very early in the non-conference,” Grey said. “We can use this and the film from it to shore up our depth chart.”
The scrimmage lasted not quite 90 minutes, including some kicking game work at the end. The roster shows 77 players with a wide mixture of returning starters, lettermen and newcomers. The first test is due next Friday.
“This next week, we go to Billings West and they are a good football team,” Grey said. “It will be a great challenge.”
The coach said the scrimmage also gave an officiating crew a chance to see the Bulldogs and learn about what to expect on the field. Butte officiating veteran Rick Rowling was also on the field advising the newer members of the crew.
“I’d like to thank the officials for coming,” Grey said. “It helped.”
Butte High’s home opener is scheduled for September 1 against Bozeman High.