The Butte High Bulldogs have enjoyed two big wins in the comfort of Naranche Stadium. They started their run 2 weeks ago with a shut-out win over Flathead 40-0. Last weekend they celebrated Homecoming with a win against Missoula Big Sky 54-7. Now the ‘Dogs have to go back on the road; which hasn’t been good to them this season.
The Bulldogs fell in Great Falls in their second game. They followed it up with a heart breaking loss to Helena High on the road the next weekend. Coach Arie Grey says his Bulldogs are ready for the challenge. “We haven’t been successful on the road this year, so the challenge is on us to turn that around this week,” Grey said. “This is a great opportunity for us. We are playing great football and coming together as a team.”
Coach Grey pointed out the play of his line on both sides of the ball as an example. “The offensive line is rotating six guys that have come together and are playing well as a group. The defensive line is seeing the same growth as a unit and is playing well as a team.” Grey added, “We strive for our effort to be up every week and for our guys to correct mistakes. The team has done that and it shows on the field. The guys are trusting each other.”
This Week’s Matchup
The Bulldogs will need that effort and error free play this week as they make their second trip to Helena. They’ll have their hands full with the undefeated top-ranked Capital Bruins. This game will have a lot of outside attention because it is a key matchup in the Western AA.
The Bulldogs enter the game 2-1 in conference and 3-2 overall. Capital comes in at 5-0 after coming from behind last Friday against Glacier. The Bruins trailed 27-14 at the half before putting up 21 unanswered points in the second half for a 35-27 win.
Capital had a rotating quarterback scheme for the first four games of the season. However, an injury to Hudsen Grovom changed that plan. Joey Michelotti was forced to take over last week against Glacier. He proved that he was more than up to the task. Michelotti was 14 of 24 for 205 yards and a touchdown. He was supported by a great ground game led by Senior Dylan Graham who rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. Tom Carter also carried three times for 52 yards with a score. Hayden Opitz rushed for a score and Nick Michelotti returned an interception 30 yards for six in the first quarter.
It’s obvious after the first 5 games of the season that Joey Michelotti has a stable of receivers to utilize. The Bulldogs will need to pay careful attention to the passing game that can score quick and often. “Capital is solid on all three phases of the game,” Grey said of his opponent, “We need to read our keys and play disciplined error free football against them.”
The Bulldogs have shown their ability to air it out for fast scores as well. Last week, quarterback Jace Stenson connected with seven different receivers in a 16 of 24 performance for 299 yards. That yardage included an impressive five touchdowns: two to Sean Ossello, two to Cameron Gurnsey, and one to Hudson Luedtke.
Thanks to the play of the offensive line, the Bulldog running game was strong as well. Trey Hansen rushed 19 times for 73 yards and a score and Stenson toted 10 times for 71 Yards and a score.
The Bulldog defense played a big part in their victory by shutting down many Big Sky scoring threats and creating turnovers. The ‘Dogs forced four fumbles and recovered them all. Kale McDonald grabbed an interception for the second game in a row, and teammate Ethan Cunningham also pulled in a tipped pass.
The Butte High vs. Capital game kicks off at 7pm Friday night at Vigilante Stadium. You can hear the game KBOW 550AM, 101.5FM, or online at KBOW550.net.