The Butte High Bulldogs, fresh off their best team performance of the season, are headed to Helena for the second game of their second season, the Class AA playoffs.
In their best performance of the year, the Bulldogs showed how much they have come together as a team. The proof was in the scoring; five Bulldogs scored touchdowns against Great Falls, Jonas Sherman, Zach Tierney, Cam Gurnsey, Trey Hansen and Jace Stenson all scored TDs. The team first, next man up, approach of the Butte High coaching staff was on display for all to see and the players buy in showed on the scoreboard with a 35-21 playoff victory.
All season coach Arie Grey has talked about learning from the game, adapting to the game, and taking the opportunities the game gives you. Last Friday proved his boys were listening.
The Bulldog defense stopped the Bison at very key times in the game. None more impressive than the Cade Stajcar interception of the first play of the second half. That play set up the best second half of football this season by the Bulldogs and for the first time, we saw the big opportunities they created turned into advantages by the offense.
The Butte offensive line created big holes for Hansen and Stenson to run through and gave Stenson plenty of time to find his open receivers. The line of Joey Wall, Zach Tierney, Brett Polich, Kade Schleeman, Wyatt Mullaney and Jake Hennelly created opportunities with their best performance of the year.
Now the Bulldogs are ready to take the lessons learned this season back to Helena where the Dogs saw early season mistakes go the other way. In two games at Vigilante earlier this season, the Bulldogs were burned by turnovers and breaks going to the other guys. The Dogs look to turn the tables on yet another early season opponent in the State Quarterfinals.
On a soaked field in early October, the Bruins took advantage of a muffed kickoff, a blocked punt, and a fumble recovery to put up a 41-0 win over the Dogs. Bruins quarterback Joey Michelotti was 14 of 15 passing for 232 yards and two touchdowns. Tom Carter ran the ball for 171 yards and three scores. Joey Laureman recovered a fumble, had an interception, and blocked a punt that he recovered for another Bruin score. The game was played in a non-stop rain downpour that made conditions and the ball very slick.
Butte High had one missed scoring opportunity, giving the ball up on downs at the Capital 6-yard line and 2 plays later Carter went 94 yards to the end zone. Butte rushed for 66 yards in the game and Jace Stenson was 10 of 29 for 156 yards with one interception. Cade Stajcar caught 3 passes for 87 yards to lead the Bulldog receivers in the game. Hudson Luedtke, Cameron Gurnsey, Sean Ossello, Alex Watson and Jonas Sherman make up a receiving core that has hauled in nearly 2500 yards in receptions and 23 touchdowns on the season.
Bulldog coach Arie Grey felt last weeks’ win was the result of the offense running the ball successfully. Hanson, Stenson and Zach Tierney carried for over 200 yards in the game and will count on the line to create long, time consuming drives again this week.
One thing we have learned from last week, you can throw that October 1st game out and get ready for a completely different game. The Bulldogs are a completely different TEAM – they are also undefeated at 1-0 on this post season.