Bulldogs Return to Naranche

Bulldogs Return to Naranche

By Ron Davis

The Butte High Bulldog football team will return to Naranche Stadium after an unsuccessful two game road trip.  The Bulldogs opened the season at home with a win over Billings Senior 36-28. The following two weekends saw the ‘Dogs fall at Great Falls 42-17, before last weekend’s heart breaking loss in Helena 41-35.

The 1-2 ‘Dogs come home to face the 1-2 Flathead Braves on Friday night. Both teams are hunting for their first Western AA conference win of the season.  The Bulldogs and the Braves both started their seasons with wins over Billings schools at home. Flathead shut out Skyview 27-0 before traveling to Gallatin High and falling 38-0.  Last weekend the Braves played host to the Capital Bruins and lost 51-14.

In spite of 5 turnovers the Bulldogs fought back from two 20 point deficits against Helena High last weekend. They even had an opportunity to win late in the game. “Our guys never gave up and our defense got the stops when we needed them,” Coach Grey said after the game. “We have got to take care of the ball.” Two of the turnovers led to Helena High scores; while the other three stopped Butte High scoring opportunities.

The emphasis in Butte High’s practice this week has been protecting the ball. Coach Grey is constantly reminding his players to learn from their efforts and use those lessons to get better.

The Flathead Braves come to town with new head coach, Caleb Aland, who is their fourth coach in the past five years.  Aland is no stranger to the program. He served as the quarterback coach last year.  Previously, Aland coached for seven years at Troy University.

Their win over Skyview on opening weekend snapped a 17 game losing streak for the Braves, which included an 0-9 record in 2021 and 2-24 over the previous three seasons. The Braves are not long removed from success on the gridiron. In 2018 they played for the AA State Championship.

The Braves having been using two quarterbacks in the early season: Jackson Walker and Nate Skonrod are splitting the duties.  They have a combined  30 of 70 passing for 352 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 Interceptions.

Brody Thornsberry has been their favorite target with 195 yards in receptions.  Joe Jones also has 5 grabs for the Braves. Flathead has had trouble running the ball, averaging only 55.3 yards per game. They’re still looking for their first rushing touchdown of the season.

On the defensive side, Flathead has two interceptions with 109 return yards and three fumble recoveries so far this year. The special teams unit also has a blocked punt.

The Bulldogs have moved the ball well between the goal lines with Jace Stenson completing 58% of his passes for a 13 yard average per catch.  He is averaging 282 yards per game and has thrown 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.

Cameron Gurnsey leads a very talented receiving corps with an average of 93.3 yards per game. He’s looking hard for his first touchdown grab of the season. Freshmen Hudson Luedtke has 3 TD catches on 10 receptions for 113 yards. Rueso Batterman is averaging 71.3 yards per game with 2 scores.  Freshmen Cade Stajcar has a score on 7 snares, averaging 48 yards per game.  In Helena, tight end Kyler Stenson teamed up with his cousin Jace for 2 touchdown grabs.

Jace Stenson is the top rusher for the Bulldogs with 58.7 yards per game and a touchdown against Senior. Trey Hansen has been getting the bulk of the carries the last 2 games and has scored twice.

The Bulldog defense came up with big stops against Helena last weekend giving the team the opportunity to win the game.  Kade Schleeman and Zach Tierney anchored the front for the dogs with Quinn Cox, Jonas Sherman and Kyler Stenson providing contain on the ends.

Isaac Kohler and Aden Cuchine were all over the field last week stopping Helena drives with big hits.  The Bulldog secondary features great corner play with Kale McDonald and Taylor Parks allowing safeties Ethan Cunningham and Luke Verlanic to roam the field making big play after big play for the defense.

Friday nights game kicks off at 7pm and can be heard on KBOW 550 AM, 101.5FM and streaming on line at KBOW550.net.


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