It’s only fitting that the regular season finale would end in thrilling fashion at Naranche Stadium Thursday night, it took overtime to find a winner.
The Butte High Bulldogs kicked off their senior night and final regular season game against Capital with a-lot on the line, a game with playoff implications and atmosphere, lived up to the hype.
On a night where Helena only attempted 6 passes and completed 3 of them found themselves coming out on top in a highly anticipated game. In what was a defensive battle in the first half and most of the game, Helena drew first blood in the second quarter after a scoreless first. Merek Mihelish rushed up the gut for 27 yards and a score to put Helena up 7-0. On the Dogs next possession Bo Demarais found Karson Pumnea on a 50 yard catch and run but ultimately turned the ball over on downs inside the 10 yard line as the defenses went back and forth multiple times not giving an edge. Kyler Stenson had a big night on both ends of the ball along with teammates Aiden Cuchine and Asher Palmer who all recorded sacks on Mehlish tonight.
After a Torre Temple pick the Bulldogs were back in business, they converted on a 4th and 6 on a nice float pass for 24 yards and a score to senior Kyler Stenson down the seam and the Bulldogs knotted things up at 7 apiece.
On Helena’s next possession they were marching down the field and the Bulldog defense caused Capital to cough up the ball and turn it over again, recovered by Will Stepan, Bulldog ball with under 2 minutes to play.
Butte High would convert on another 4th and 1 on a rush by Kyler Stenson to set up a Demarais to Battermann 1 yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds to play and take a 14-7 lead into the half.
The State champion Bruins came out in the second half and meant business right out of the gates. Tuff Adams carried the ball 40 yards through the Bulldog defense, down the right sideline bouncing off two solid hits he stayed in bounds and scored, tying the game at 14 all with 9:32 to go in the 3rd.
On the Dogs first possession of the second half Demarais connected with Rueso Battermann on a 60 yard strike inside enemy territory, on the very next play senior Will Taylor made a spectacular 1 handed snag helping the Bulldogs inch closer to an answer to Capitals score. Capital would force a fumble just short of the goal line and recover it.
Helena would eventually score on a 1 yard rushing touchdown by Merek Mihelish and the Bruins regained the lead 21-14 with 2:44 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Butte wasn’t done and made their way down field after Demarais found a wide open Cayde Stajcar on a huge chunk play and would end up feeding Kyler Stenson on a 1 yard rush TD to lock the score at 21 apiece.
Both teams would get one more crack at things, the Bulldogs failed to convert on a 4th and 9 just outside of the red zone giving the ball back to Capital. Each team would punt once more and capital would take a knee and play for overtime.
Butte won the toss in OT and elected to get the first try at scoring, in High School OT there is no time on the clock, each team gets 4 downs from the 10 yard line in the same red zone until a winner occurs.
The Bulldogs had Hudson Luedtke set up in the end zone but the pass was broken up by a Helena defender, leading to the Dogs attempting to get 6 points on another 4th down, Demarais was rushed and bobbled the ball and the Dogs failed to score on their possession in OT needing to hold Helena for another crack at it.
Helena got their shot and moved the ball on their first two runs and ended the Bulldogs hopes of the 1 seed and a first round playoff bye, after Merek Mihelish rushed for 2 yards, the score and the win ending the Bulldogs senior night in heartbreaking fashion.
Bo Demarais completed 26 of 44 attempts for 2 touchdowns, 349 yards, Kyler Stenson recorded a sack, a receiving and a rushing touchdown. Hudson Luedtke caught 6 balls for 74 yards, Cayde Stajcar caught 5 balls for 103 yards. Rueso Battermann caught 4 balls for 20 yards and a touchdown. Will Taylor caught 4 balls for 16 yards. Trey Hansen ran 14 time for 26 yards. Karson Pumnea caught 3 balls for 58 yards, Tocher Lee caught 2 balls for 15 yards, and Sam Sampson caught 1 ball for 39 yards. Torre Tempel had and interception and Will Stepan had a fumble Recovery. Aiden Cuchine, Kyler Stenson, and Asher Palmer each recorded a sack. Casey Nolan had 15 tackles, Luke Verlanic recorded 11 tackles.
Merek Mihelish rushed for 134 yards on 15 carries he also scored 3 times, Tuff Adams rushed the ball 6 times for 72 yards and a score.