By Bruce Sayler
Butte Central’s seniors, with help from their underclassman football teammates, will be trying to put some positive punctuation on the end of their home schedule Friday night when they play host to Frenchtown in a Western A Conference game at Bob Green Field on the Montana Tech campus.
The kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
“We’re making a big night about Senior Night,” Don Peoples Jr., head coach of the Maroons, said. “We have 11 seniors, all great kids, and we’re going to honor them and we look forward to playing a great game.”
A road trip to Stevensville in two weeks is the only game BC will have left on its schedule after Friday night. The Maroons have had a patchwork season unraveled some by illness, injuries and challenged by playing some of Montana Class A’s best teams in a quick span.
So, playing their last game for Butte Central on the Bob Green Field will be kicker Ethan Andersch, 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds; lineman Dawson Rodgers, 5-11. 265; receiver-linebacker-quarterback Rye Doherty, 6-1, 190; running back-linebacker Konnor Pochervina, 5-10, 200; wide receiver-cornerback-quarterback Kyle Holter, 6-1, 180; wide receiver-safety Dougie Peoples, 6-4, 170; tight end-defensive end Eric Loos, 6-4, 215; lineman Cayden Kibler, 6-1 285; offensive tackle-defensive end Riley Gelling 6-0, 205; wide receiver-defensive back Garrett Button, 5-7, 160; and offensive tackle-defensive end Josiah McGee, 5-11, 180.
“They’re great kids,” Coach Peoples said. “Garrett if finally able to play for the first time all season, having been out with an injury. Ethan has been a great kicker for us several years, and Dawson and Josiah are new players out for the first time this year and they’ve contributed much this year.”
Loos transferred into the program from Butte High prior to his junior year, and became an immediate starter in high school football debut.
“The others (Doherty, Pochervina, Holter, Peoples, Loos, Kibler and Gelling) have been in the varsity lineup since their sophomore year,” coach Peoples said. “They’re a great group of kids.”
The Maroons are 1-5 for the season and in Western A play while Frenchtown is 3-3, 2-3 in league play and coming off a 29-20 non-conference win over Kellogg, Idaho. Dan Lucier is the head coach of the Broncs.
“Frenchtown is pretty good,” coach Peoples said. “They’ve had a tough schedule, too, but gave (undefeated) Hamilton their toughest game so far (a 27-20 loss at Hamilton).
“Their quarterback, Eli Quinn, is 6-foot-6 and throws the ball well. They have a stable of good running backs in Peyton Hicks, Beau Boudreaux and Noah Rausch. Their leading receiver is Connor Michaud, a 6-5 senior. They have some very impressive offensive threats.
“They play an even front on defense and they’re very aggressive.”
Quinn is a son of former Butte High and Montana Tech basketball standout Mark Quinn, who served a stint as the Frenchtown boys’ basketball coach.
“We’re excited (about playing the Broncs),” coach Peoples said. “We’ve had a lot of adversity with sickness and injuries, but our kids have kept great attitudes. And, they’ve practiced hard throughout the season.
“They’re excited about playing together and playing for a win (on the seniors’ last night home).”
The coach said the BC team is not over the health issues yet with three to four players still waiting to see whether they will be able to take the field Friday.
“They’re not sure about their status, but hopefully, it will be all-hands-on-deck on Friday,” he said. “They’ve stayed positive and worked hard. Sometimes you learn more from the adversity than from the success.”
With players’ availability still unknown, coach Peoples is tentatively going with a starting lineup similar to last week, including the possibility of Doherty and Holter sharing quarterback assignments in the place of injured junior starter Jack Keeley.
The defense will have Kibler and sophomore Michael Peck at tackles, Gelling and Loos at the ends, Doherty, junior Zane Moodry and Pochervina at the linebacker spots, Holter and sophomore Justus McGee at cornerback and Dougie Peoples and junior Jake Tauscher at the safeties. Moodry will punt.
On offense, the tentatives are junior Ayden Durkin at center, Kibler and Rodgers at the guards, Gelling and junior Tanner Keith at the tackles, Loos at tight end, Doherty, Holter, Moodry and Peoples rotating through the wide receiver spots, Pochervina, Holter or Justus McGee at running back, and Doherty or Holter at quarterback. Andersch is the kicker.