By Ron Davis
The Butte High Bulldog football team is ready to put last Friday’s game at Great Falls behind them and move in to Western AA conference play. They will take on the Helena High Bengals in Helena tomorrow night.
The Bulldogs opened their season with a great team effort win over Billings Senior. Last weekend they traveled to Great Falls; suffering a disappointing loss 42-17 after leading 10-0 and 17-7.
When asked about last week, Coach Aerie Grey said he felt his Bulldogs didn’t get into the flow in the game. “Against Great Falls we didn’t handle adversity very well, and they did. This week the team has focused on what they need to do to get better as we jump right in to Western AA conference play.”
The Bulldogs and the Bengals enter conference play with 1 and 1 records. Coincidentally, they also beat and lost to the same teams. Helena opened the season with a home loss to Great Falls High. Last week they took the W in double overtime at Billings Senior.
Grey feels having like-opponents in the first 2 weeks helped his staff prepare for Helena. He said, “We know the matchups and where we struggled and where they struggled. So, we know their weakness and they know our weaknesses. It’s a neat situation to be in. Our kids understand where we need to get better.”
Helena High presents another hard-running tailback to test the Bulldog defense. Cade Holland ran for 164 yards against the Senior defense. Senior held the Bulldogs ground game to 104 yards with 39 of those coming on a Jace Stenson touchdown run. Holland was also 2 for 2 passing including a halfback pass for a score to tie the game at 14.
Helena High quarterback Carter Kraft completed 14 of 28 attempts for 104 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. He also ran in the game winning touchdown in the second overtime. Kraft finished the game with 60 yards rushing. His favorite target in the passing game was Colter Petre, who grabbed nine passes for 67 yards against Senior.
Petre also led the defense with 14 tackles, (7 solos, 4 assisted, 1 sack). Linebackers Ryan Frisinger and Kehler Woodland finished with 6 tackles each and both had 2 tackles for a loss.
On Helena High Grey said, “Helena High is a few plays away from being 2 and 0. We better come strapped ready to go. They run the ball well; they have an athletic Quarterback and really good receivers. Defensively, they are very physical and they play fast.”
The Bulldogs entered the Great Falls game wanting to get their running game on track but were held to just 63 yards on 35 carries. Trey Hansen led the way with 13 hand-offs for 36 yards and 1 touchdown. Jace Stenson spent much of the night running from pressure while trying to find an open receiver. He finished with 17 runs for 20 yards. Coach Grey feels the run game is critical; “We need to be more physical in the run game this week. To win football games you have to be able to run the ball.”
The passing game was once again the bright spot for the ‘Dogs. Stenson threw for 261 yards on a 23 of 39 performance. He tossed a 65-yard touchdown to Rueso Batterman. Batterman finished the game with 6 grabs for 107 yards. Cameron Gurnsey broke free for 11 receptions and 123 yards. Stenson has thrown for 503 yards in the early season with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Kick off at Vigilante stadium is 7pm and can be heard on KBOW 550am and 101.5 FM and online at kbow550.net.