Bulldogs top Braves, head to playoffs on a high

Bulldogs top Braves, head to playoffs on a high
Butte High's Boyd Dewitt, left, and Wesley Kendall celebrate a Dewitt goal Saturday at the Jeremy Bullock Complex. Kendall assisted on the goal. (Bill Foley photo)

Luoma leads Butte High boys with two goals, one assist

By Bill Foley

As far as positioning for the Class AA boys’ soccer playoffs, Butte High’s match Saturday against Kalispell Flathead meant absolutely nothing.

Butte High was already locked into a trip to Helena Capital for a first-round match on Tuesday.

If Saturday was meaningless, however, nobody told the Bulldogs.

Butte High put together perhaps its best performance of the season, and the Bulldogs beat the Braves 4-3 at a sunny Jeremy Bullock Complex.

“Every time we answered, we just go a little bit higher until we got that last one that put us ahead,” said Butte High sophomore Jack Luoma, who scored two goals and assisted on another to lead the Bulldog effort.

Luoma’s second goal, which gave him is first multiple-goal game as a Bulldog, put the Bulldogs on top for good at 4-3 with 8 minutes, 13 seconds left on the clock. Junior James “J.J.” Hadley got the assist.

“Reid (Whitlock) told J.J. to shoot it,” Luoma said. “It just went right to my foot. I just got it and shot it. It was just a perfect set up. It was a shot by J.J. that just happened to go straight to me.”

That was part of the talking that was key for the Bulldogs in the win that sends Butte High to the playoffs at 4-10.

“We talked a lot and we communicated,” Luoma said. “We just passed to feet, and when we took our chances most of them paid off.”

Flathead got all three of its goals sophomore Carter Bullins, who found the net from deep on each one.

He scored his first 1 minute, 46 seconds into the match, and the Braves played with the lead for much of the match

Junior Cooper McKee scored off a Luoma pass to tie the match at 1 with 10:39 left in the first half.  On the play, Luoma sent a long pass to McKee, who collided with Flathead keeper Jonathan King.

Both players hit the ground. McKee got up and finished the play.

The Braves took the lead again when Bullins struck with 4:58 left in the first half. This time, the Bulldogs waited 45 seconds to tie the game.

Luoma scored off a pass from sophomore Boyd Dewitt to make it 2-all, where it stayed through halftime.

With 25:40 on the clock, Bullins hit his deepest shot for a 3-2 lead.

Butte High tied at it 3 when Dewitt took an assist from freshman Wesley Kendall and snuck a shot over the keeper into the top left corner. That shot came with 17:45 on the lock.

The Bulldogs made sure they did not fall behind again until Luoma put them on top for good.

Flathead had a couple of chances late, but the Bulldog back row made sure the ball stayed away from junior keeper Joe Schrader.

“We played as a team,” Butte High coach Cody Carpenter said.

The coach was happy that his team rebounded from a tough loss to Kalispell Glacier on a frigid Thursday evening.

“It was really a good bounce back from the other night,” Carpenter said. “Yesterday we spent some time kind of processing the loss. I said, ‘Alright, time to move forward.’”

Butte High was boosted by the return of Dewitt and junior Bridger Schutte. The two starters missed Thursday’s match.

Cameron Tobiness, Zane Fredlund, Whitlock, Riley Boyle, Grant Hursh, Joe Phillip and Aiden Lester also contributed to the Bulldog win.

Luoma said that win will send Butte High to the playoffs o

“It just helps the team morally,” Luoma said. “I think it will be a good game. It should be a good one.”

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