Some of the sparkling moments in Butte High’s 42-0 football win over Missoula Hellgate Friday night came from the sideline.
The first-stringers stood there in the fourth quarter. It was a good thing and it had much to do with the way they had played. They had played well.
So, here the top Bulldogs were at Naranche Stadium on Silver B’s Night watching their subs play out the game. The lopsided lead had been built early and smiles decorated the faces of the first unit, illuminating them like neon.
To the onlookers, the ones who don’t sweat it out in practices everyday or study game films and hear scouting reports, or put in any amount of the work that goes into having this much fun, the offensive numbers were impressive.
The Bulldogs put up 42 points. Zach Bunney broke a long touchdown run down each sideline in a spotlight performance, and quarterback Dallas Cook dealt passes to receiving corps members like a dealer at a boys night out card game.
It was a lot to cheer about, especially with Cook’s two TD tosses to Cary Farstveert and a beautiful lob to sophomore Dalton Daum that put up the first points of the game.
Cook was one of those duly impressed, but not necessarily with what he did.
Here, it was the fourth quarter and he raced to teammates and an assistant coach on the Butte High sideline as he dashed from farther down the sideline.
“That,” he said, in excited tones and with a big grin, “was only their second completion of the game.”
He was enthused about the Butte High defense and confirmed the number with media covering the game.
It was a defensive effort to laud, too. Class AA high school football in Montana is pretty darn good football and to held an opponent scoreless is a notable feat.
Hellgate showed signs of challenge, too. The Knights presented a big, physical lineup and a quarterback, Luke Bewley, who was as tough as he was athletic and most graders would mark him highly in both subjects.
The outward cheering by the offensive unit for the defensive squad might have given the telltale glimpse into Butte High’s early success this young fall season. The Bulldogs are a team, they like playing beside each other and they seem to have a common direction. The coaches have done quite well this early going.
So far, Class AA has seen a lot of anyone-can-beat-anyone evidence among the figured contenders. Butte High has inserted itself into the heap.
Senior Joe Blunt tacked on the last touchdown of the game with a quick burst up the middle. His play on special teams had also been noticeable and he was an example of still playing hard late in the night. He was vying for playing time while contributing all he was able to the win.
Connor Lane caught the pass that set up the TD. Other big plays in the game included rousing hits by Andre Vialpando in the secondary and Connor Lee on a kickoff that stopped the return man as if he’d smacked into an old Star Trek force field.
The young Hellgate squad is trying to stabilize a program and incurring some of the frustrations and other growing pains. Still, it was a good win for Butte High.
Billings West is an established power in Class AA and visits Naranche Stadium this Friday. The Bulldogs will need to continue playing this game with fun and attention. They’ve been very good at home.
It should be another contest worth seeing. Qualifying, standing and seeding implications could add more to the excitement.