By Bruce Sayler
Quick-striking Dillon created a snowball effect and a late-game Butte Central meltdown, sending the Beavers to their eighth straight football win over the Maroons Friday night.
Dillon’s fourth-quarter explosion created a 38-20 final margin in the Western A Conference high school tilt at Bob Green Field on the Montana Tech campus. (Stats)
“They got a touchdown in the third quarter that kind of changed things,” Don Peoples Jr., head coach of the Maroons, said.
Butte Central was riding momentum from clawing to a 14-7 halftime lead after yielding the game[s first score to Dillon. The Beavers passed on every down in their first possession, except for the eighth play, a 3-yard touchdown burrow Conner Vezina, to end a 64-yard drive.
Butte Central answered with a defensive stand and two second period TDs, Konner Pochervina’s 3-yard run and a 16-yard hookup between quarterback Luke Garrison and receiver Kyle Holter. Pochervina wound up running for 134 yards on 29 carries.
“Dillon scored early and the kids fought back and made a game of it,” Peoples said. “Dillon was missing its (usual) tailback (Kale Konen), so they threw the ball. They’re good at their perimeter gamer and put a lot of pressure on with it.”
The Beavers’ sophomore quarterback, Kee Christiansen, passed 41 times and handed the ball off only 13. Christiansen completed 25 throws, including three for touchdowns – 65 yards to Treyton Anderson in the third quarter, and 23 yards to Jon Kirkley and 27 to Eli Nourse in the fourth.
The one to Anderson snuffed the Maroons’ momentum and tied the score at 14-all.
Butte Central lineman Eric Hart picked a deflected Dillon pass out of the air to set the Maroons up at the Beaver 27 about midway through a hard-fought third period. The Maroons got to the Dillon 8, but almost had a touchdown on a acrobatic attempt by Kyle Holter in the end zone. A hard landing on his back jarred the ball loose. Two plays after the near-catch, Ethan Andersch tried to boot a 25-yard field goal, but it was knocked down at the line of scrimmage and the Beavers took over control.
Four plays after the change of possession, Christiansen found Anderson racing downfield and threw the strike to him that tied the score.
Dillon dominated in the fourth with big plays and by converting breaks and turnovers.
The Beavers went ahead on the first play of the fourth quarter when Kirkley hauled in a 22-yard throw from Christiansen. Dillon held the Maroons to a three-and-out and then went up another touchdown. Christiansen lofted a 27-yard scoring pass to Anderson.
More than nine minutes were still left in the contest. Butte Central turned over its next possession on bounds, then got the ball back when Holter pilfered a Christiansen pass.
Anderson, however, intercepted for Dillon on the next play and ran the pick 23 yards for a touchdown and 35-14 bulge.
The Maroons fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and Caleb Hansen recovered for Dillon, his second recovery of the game. The Beavers capitalized on the advantageous field position for a 26-yard field goal by Jon Bramlet.
Butte Central finished the scoring when Eyston Lakkala blasted into the end zone from 6 yards out to finish off a 70-yard drive.
Butte Central missed a couple of earlier scoring chances. One drive was stopped on Anderson’s first interception of the game, a diving grab right off the carpet.
“We had a wide-open receiver on the interception, but our quarterback got hit as he threw the ball,” Peoples said.
The teams combined for seven turnovers as Butte Central lost two fumbles and had two passes intercepted, and Dillon suffered two picks and gave up a fumble. Starting receivers and defenders Dougie Peoples and Eric Loos missed their third game because of injuries.
Play started out a bit chippy between the two rivals, but officials did a good job of keeping the tempers under control. The competition was intense throughout the contest.
“I really liked the effort of our guys, tonight,” Peoples said. “We’re still very much alive for a playoff spot. If we win our next two games, we’re still in the playoff hunt. We have a lot to play for.”
The Maroons ran for 143 yards and passed for 107. Holter caught five passes for 88 yards, second only to Kirkley in receiver yardage. Kirkley snared nine aerials for 105 yards.
The loss put Butte Central at 2-4 for the season, including a forfeit loss to Polson. Dillon improved to 4-2, 3-2 in Western A games. The Maroons will play at Frenchtown next Friday while Dillon plays at Stevensville, also Friday.