Over the last few years, Butte High has made a name for itself as an offensive powerhouse.
The tables were turned Friday, however, as Butte High hosted Helena Capital in a Class AA grid matchup at Naranche Stadium. The Bulldogs held the Bruins to a late touchdown in a 14-7 victory, leaving both teams with 1-1 records.
Butte’s defense held tight after five turnovers on the offensive side, while creating five turnovers of its own in a game that could be described as ugly, unless you’re a Butte High defender or defensive coach. Ten turnovers – five by each team – were registered, as well as a total of 23 penalties – 16 against Capital – were levied.
“Our defense played outstanding all night long,” gushed Butte head coach Arie Grey. “They responded every time we turned the ball over. They got a stop after every one. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Butte scored midway through the second quarter and on the first drive of the second half, and had the game in hand in the fourth quarter. At that point, it was more about the potential 14-0 shutout than the win.
“We almost got it,” said Butte captain Ty Wonnacott, who led the Bulldog defense from his linebacker position.
Capital quarterback Gus Chancy connected with Will Hunthausen on a 27-yard score with 16 seconds left on the clock, spoiling what would have been the Bulldogs’ first shutout in some time.
“Our defense hasn’t been the greatest,” Wonnacott admitted. “But we’ve been working hard and coach (Chris) Alexander says we have to have a bend-don’t-break mentality. We live by that. We’re trying to cleanse a tarnished name.”
Grey heaped praise on defensive coordinator Brian Arntson and his staff for the performance.
“The key was the kids did their jobs and read the keys,” Grey said. “Coach Arntson preached that all week.”
Capital showed strength in the running game early on, and seemed to be able to move the ball at will, especially in the first series. But Paul Campbell snagged the first of his two interceptions on the night and gave Butte’s offense its first shot.
Butte High’s offense got a big initial gain in a 46-yard completion between Dylan Cook and Campbell, but it wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that Connor Lane hauled in a 12-yard scoring pass from Cook that noted Butte’s first lead, which held through the night.
The Bulldogs added another touchdown out of the gates in the second half, as Cook connected with Mason Ruppel on a 30-yard scoring pass down the north sideline that established momentum.
After that, turnovers seemed to take center stage. Capital punted only to see Butte lose the ball again after Nick Wrigg wrestled an interception from the grasp of Dalton Daum, who was wearing the number 35, in honor of former Bulldog Bo Taylor, who passed away last week in an industrial accident.
Wonnacott recovered a Capital fumble three plays later, but the ball kept changing hands, whether by turnover or punt. Quinn Dennehy saw his first interception after a number of well-defended passes on the night, then later recovered a fumble.
Butte got a lot of good effort from its defenders across the board. Kyle Andrews was a regular in the Capital backfield, while Lee Cannon and Freshman Greyson Mandic held tight reign of the defensive front. Junior defensive end Justin Best registered some good hits, as did sophomore Jake Moore. Linebacker Cian Randall was in on multiple plays in both the defensive backfield and Capital’s backfield.
Despite the five turnovers, Butte’s offense looked good. Ruppel led the running game with 11 carries for 42 yards, while Cook carried the ball 10 times for 37 yards. Cook was able to spread the ball to nine different receivers with 23 completions for 233 yards.
“Offensively, we didn’t do a good job holding onto the ball, but we can work on that,” Grey said. “It’s hard to turn the ball over five times and win. We got lucky.”
Campbell had three catches for 53 yards, Connor Lane had four catches for 51 yards, and Daum hauled in four passes for 26 yards.
“We’ve got 24 hours to savor this, and then it’s on to CMR,” Grey said.
The Bulldogs host Great Falls Russell, next Friday at 7 p.m.
Helena Capital 0 0 0 7 – 7
Butte High 0 7 7 0 – 14
Butte – Connor Lane 12 pass from Dylan Cook (Sean Staples kick), 7:39
Butte – Mason Ruppel 30 pass from Cook (Staples kick), 10:57
Capital – Will Hunthausen 27 pass from Gus Chancy (Braxton Kent kick), :16
|RUSHES / YARDS (NET)|
|PASSING YARDS (NET)|
|TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS/YARDS|
63 / 337
74 / 328
|Fumble Returns / Yards|
0 / 0
1 / -2
|Punt Returns / Yards|
2 / 15
0 / 0
|Kickoff Returns / Yards|
2 / 9
2 / 27
|Interception Returns /Yards|
3 / 18
2 / 0
4 / 34
7 / 31
|Fumbles / Lost|
3 / 3
1 / 1
|Penalties / Yards|
7 / 45
16 / 106
|Sacks By: Number/Yards|
4 / 26
2 / 4
|RUSHING(Att / Yards):|
|Capital||Nick Wrigg||4 / 60||Ethan Askam||9 / 49||Josh Moore||10 / 28||Anthony Taylor||5 / 21|
|Walker Cozzie||4 / 6||James Jewett||3 / -1||Gus Chancy||10 / -8|
|Butte High||Mason Ruppel||11 / 42||Dylan Cook||10 / 37||Bo Mortensen||2 / 14||TEAM||1 / 0|
|Butte High||Dylan Cook||23/39/2/244|
|RECEIVING(No / Yard):|
|Capital||Sean Mulcahy||8 / 99||Will Hunthausen||3 / 49||Nick Wrigg||2 / 16||Sam Bryggman||2 / 9|
|Butte High||Paul Campbell||3 / 53||Connor Lane||4 / 51||Mason Ruppel||1 / 30||Jake Salmonsen||4 / 28|
|Dalton Daum||4 / 26||Marcus Miller||1 / 22||Brock LaPier||1 / 18||Ryson Lovshin||3 / 13|
|Kiley Caprara||2 / 3|
|INTERCEPTIONS(No / Yard):|
|Capital||Nick Wrigg||1 / 0||Trent Rouse||1 / 0|
|Butte High||Quinn Dennehy||1 / 18||Paul Campbell||2 / 0|