Bubba Butorovich made for the O-line

There’s no questioning how much Nick Butorovich likes playing football.

He wants to play the sport so badly that on Aug. 7 he will drive nearly 900 miles to Wahpeton, N.D. to continue his career.

That’s where Butorovich, who has been affectionately known as “Bubba” pretty much his whole life, will play football at North Dakota State College of Science, a small junior college.

That is also where Butorovich, who will play right tackle for the West team in Saturday’s 67th Montana East-West Shrine Game, intends to prove he has what it takes to play football on the college level.

“These guys have put several offensive linemen into big Division I programs,” Butorovich says of the NDSCS Wildcats.

The former Butte High Bulldog doesn’t mix any words when describing why he isn’t heading to a Division I school — or even a Frontier Conference school — right out of high school.

“I kind of screwed the pooch in the grades department,” he says.

Butorovich looked at the possibility of playing closer to home before signing with the Wildcats during the winter.

“Tech is a great program,” Butorovich says, looking around after Sunday afternoon’s West team practice on Montana Tech’s Bob Green Field. “It’s a great school. It would be amazing to go here. I just didn’t feel it was a great fit for me right now.”

Playing at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds for the state champion Butte High football team, Butorovich also got a peek from the University of Montana and Montana State University.

“They showed some interest, then they got a look,” Butorovich says, referring to his grades. “I’ve got to go prove I can do it.”

On the field, Butorovich has proven he can do it — and then some.

Butorovich, who inherited his nickname from his father, John, started for three seasons for the Bulldogs, including every game of last year’s championship run.

He earned all-conference honorable mention honors as a junior. He was all-conference and All-State as a senior.

He also earned a spot on the Montana roster for last month’s Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl, where he played nearly every offensive snap.

“I started from the third game on,” Butorovich says, referring to his sophomore season. “I think me and Anthony (Moritz) are one of the longest guard-tackle combinations Butte High ever had.”

“Chunk” Moritz is also a teammate of Butorovich on the West team.

Moritz, a decorated offensive lineman, will play defense at Montana Tech. Though he played on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs, too, Butorovich said he knows he is an offensive lineman all the way.

“This is where I belong, and I’ve always known it,” Butorovich says. “I’m on the offensive line. I’ve always been an offensive guy.”

The big Butte boys has no problem with the nearly anonymous aspect of playing on the line. He doesn’t seem to care that the quarterback, receivers and running backs steal the headlines.

“I’m not really there for the notoriety or the big headlines or anything like that,” Butorovich says. “I’m just there to win games and do what I have to do.”

Last year, Butorovich was a key part in Butte High bringing a title-starved town its first football championship in a generation.

“It was a great year. Memorable,” Butorovich says. “I’m glad we could do it for the town.”

He’s been working hard to help out the Wildcats as soon as possible. Butorovich, who will study in the sociology program at NDSCS before possibly going into psychology at a four-year school, has dropped about 15 pounds and is in as good a shape as he’s ever been in.

“I might be a bit lighter. I think I might be about 299 right now,” he says. “They’ve got me on a program sent out from North Dakota, and I’ve been working on it pretty hard.”

Butorovich is also working hard for a West team victory. He says being selected to play in the Shrine Game is an honor, and it is a lot of fun.

“It’s great,” he says. “We’ve got a bunch of good players, and we’re having a good time.”

Like in the Badlands Bowl, Butorovich says he expects to play all or most of the offensive snaps for the West.

It might be the last time he plays offensive tackle. Butorovich figures he’ll be moved to guard at the next level.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to play tackle anymore,” Butorovich says. “They’ll probably put me inside. I’m ideal guard size.”

NDSCS has seen eight players sign with Division I teams the past two seasons, including five from last year’s team.

In two years, Butorovich hopes to be making the same move. Whether it is in Saturday’s Shrine Game or his long-term future, Butorovich has big plans.

“Watch for me,” he says. “I’m going to try to make it as big as I possibly can.”

Note: ButteSports.com will profile all seven Butte players on the West team roster before the 67th Montana East-West Shrine Game is played on Saturday, July 20. Butte players in the game are Northey Tretheway, Nick Butorovich, Bryce Armstrong, Zach Bunney, Anthony Moritz, Drew Schleeman and Joe Joyce. 5 comments

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