Bulldogs send seniors out with 56-13 victory

Bulldogs send seniors out with 56-13 victory
Butte High's Kale McCarthy gets a block from teammate Kash Kelly on his way to a touchdown on a pick 6 Friday night at Naranche Stadium. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bill Foley

Kale McCarthy called Friday night “probably the best night of my life.”

The Butte High senior wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

McCarthy and his fellow Butte High seniors celebrated their last football game at Naranche Stadium by beating Billings Skyview 56-13 on Senior Parent Night. (Stats)

The game started with senior receiver Kash Kelly catching touchdowns from junior Tommy Mellott. It ended with seniors Carl Anderson and McCarthy in the end zone.

“That meant more than anything to us,” McCarthy said of the Bulldogs closing their home schedule with five touchdowns coming from three seniors.

McCarthy, who caught one of Mellott’s five TD passes, capped the scoring with the first pick 6 of his career.

Classmate Dakota Eggers broke on a Jaylen Baker pass, the ball deflected into the air and into McCarthy’s hands. McCarthy then zig zagged his way for a 40-yard touchdown.

The timing of the score was something out of a storybook.

“We knew were going out,” McCarthy said. “They said it was our last play as seniors. I kind of got beat, but Dakota made a great play. I was just there at the right time. I had a big block by Kash. He sprung me for a touchdown.”

The score came less than a minute after Anderson, a leader on the Bulldog defense and sometimes lead blocker on the running game, scored his first touchdown high school on a two-yard plunge.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our seniors and what they did for our program,” Bulldog coach Arie Grey said. “We still aren’t done. We’ve still got more stuff we want to accomplish.”

The win closed the book on the home careers of seniors Anderson, Eggers, Kelly, McCarthy, Ben Biastoch, Dakota Eggers, Austin Endy, Ethan Hafer, Kyle Harding, Ryan McCarthy, Conner Miranda, Josh Neil, Calvin Snow and Rylan Waananen.

Seniors Justin McNabb and Trevyn Roth were also honored on the night. They were in Billings with the Bulldog soccer team.

More importantly, the win keeps Butte High’s playoff hopes alive. The Bulldogs, who improved to 4-5 with their second straight win, will possibly make the postseason if they win next week at Missoula Big Sky.

“We need a big win next week and make a playoff run,” Kale McCarthy said. “We haven’t had one of those in a while.”

Even Grey, who doesn’t like to get caught up in playoff talk, acknowledged the magnitude of the win on the playoff race. Kind of.

“I’m proud of the kids. They battled. We kind of battled our way back into the conversation,” Grey before slowing down to avoid getting caught up in the media talk. “We know every day we’ve got to get better. When you can just focus on getting better every day and not worry about anything else, then you’re going to be OK. That’s what this senior crew has done their entire four years. They’ve just gotten better.”

The Bulldogs clearly got better as the night went on Friday. Butte High let the 0-9 Falcons hang around for a while before pulling away.

Butte High’s first score came shortly after the Bulldogs failed on a fourth-down conversion in their first possession.

Sophomore Aidan Lee forced a fumble, and junior Scout Allen returned it 12 yards to the Skyview 25-yard line.

Three plays later, Mellott hit Kelly for an 11-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead after freshman Casey Kautzman booted the extra point.

Skyview used a little trickery to tie the game.

Two plays after punter Maxwell Davis hit Josh Macy for a 17-yard pass and a first down on a fake punt, Macy scored on a 28-yard run. Zack Hamler’s extra point tied the game.

Butte High broke the tie for good when Mellott errored out a deep ball perfectly to Kelly for a 68-yard touchdown.

“That’s something we’ve been missing for a couple of weeks,” Grey said of the deep ball. “It was nice to get that back on track.”

Mellott added touchdown passes to Cory West, who dove into the end zone, and fellow Peyton Hettick before halftime.

Junior running back Kameron Moreno, who broke the century mark for the third straight game with 117 yards rushing, also punched in a score as Butte High led 35-7 at the break.

Mellott’s fifth TD of the game went for 5 yards to McCarthy late in the third quarter. That made it a 42-7 game and started the clock running because of the 35-point rule. (Well, it was supposed to start, anyway).

Skyview got back on the board early in the fourth quarter when Baker hit Macy for a 26-yard touchdown. The extra point, which was a 40-yard try because of a pair of penalties, was blocked.

Butte High answered with a long, time-killing drive capped by Anderson’s run.

“We kind of messed around in the first half and had some opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of,” Grey said. “But, really, we hung in there. We ran the ball effectively. We threw the ball better tonight.”

Mellott completed 26 of 32 passes for 282 yards. Kelly racked up 94 yards on five carries.

Quinn Sullivan, who hauled in 38-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage, joined West, McCarthy and Tucker Winston with four receptions. Hettick caught three, and Miranda grabbed one.

Interestingly, Mellott and offensive lineman Konor McClafferty also caught a pass. Mellott grabbed a pass from Kelly on a trick play, while McClafferty pulled down a tipped pass, saving the Bulldogs form an interception.

McClafferty also had a big night on the defensive front. He batted down a pass and forced a fumble that was recovered by West.

Sullivan, a junior, registered a pair of tackles for a loss, while Endy had a sack to go along with a tackle and a half for a loss. Lee, Snow, Allen, Waananen, West, Banner Cetraro and Myles McClernan also registered tackles for a loss.

Eggers’ seven take downs to lead the team. Lee had six, while snow had five.

“The defense played well again tonight and forced some turnovers,” Grey said. “Once we settled in, we did some really nice things.”

Butte High closes its home schedule 4-1 at Naranche. While Friday’s was an expected on — from the fans and media — it was the most important home victory of the season. The win, Grey said, was for the seniors.

“I’m proud of the way for the young kids played for the older kids,” Grey said. “That’s what we talked about all week: play for the seniors. It’s their last opportunity to be on this field.” 1 comment

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  • Ron Kautzman
    October 20, 2018, 6:14 pm

    Hi Bill,
    Thanks for all of the great press for my Grandson, Freshman kicker Casey Kautzman.
    Did you realize that he tied a Montana High School record last night with his 8 extra points?
    A proud Grandpa,
    Ron Kautzman


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