Cherish the Title

Following is the Spotlight in History from KBOW Overtime for Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Last Friday night the Butte High Bulldogs won the state football championship on the final play of the game. When Jake Dennehy’s 46-yard field goal sailed through the uprights at Naranche Stadium, the town exploded with joy. The long wait for another state football title in Butte was over. It had been 21 years since the Bulldogs won the state football crown.

The program with a golden history of success had suffered for a long time

with little to shout about. The title game was the first at Naranche Stadium in 40 years. It was the first time the Bulldogs had won a state title at Naranche Stadium. It was the first and perhaps the last time I will ever see a state championship game won on the final play in regulation.

The road to the state title was perhaps the most unique in the history at Butte High. The Bulldogs were coming off a 5-6 season in 2011. It is only the fourth time in school history that Butte High has gone from a losing record to the state title in one season. The other times with losing marks took place in 1906, 1963 and 1966. Those three years were changed into state champions within a season.

This club was picked by coaches to finish in eighth place in the Class AA right behind the Bozeman Hawks. Both teams overcame plenty to make it to the finals.

Butte High had to get running back Zach Bunney back to health after battling through

Cancer. Jake Dennehy fought through a broken hand earlier in his career and a shoulder injury this season. Bozeman had to get quarterback Will Weyer back from a broken collarbone and running back Hunter Gappmeyer back from an injury. Both clubs were able to do it. Both teams fought through tough playoff games to reach the epic final.

If you look back on the Bulldogs’ season the last second field goal was the only way their season could end on a proper note. They had pulled off miracle plays all season long. It began when Dalton Daum bought a kickoff return back 99 yards for a score in the first game of the year against CM Russell when the Bulldogs were trailing.

It happened again when down 21-0 Butte High fought back with 21 points against

Helena Capital to tie the game by halftime at 21 a piece. The score to tie the game was a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the half when Dallas Cook connected with Chase Plum for a touchdown. It was the only pass Plum caught all year.

The miracles continued when the Bulldogs stopped Josh Horner short of the goal line in overtime as the Bulldogs beat CMR by one at 37-36 in the state semifinals. It was only fitting that an unlikely play with a 46-yard field goal would be the difference between winning and losing the state title.

It will be the kick everyone will talk about for years to come, but they should also

look closer at this team. This club was an amazing group that produced seven new school records as a team. The list includes most points, passing yards and total yards in a season. They also achieved ten individual school records on the year. Dallas Cook had nine of the marks while wide receiver Bryce Armstrong set the other.

Beyond the records this was above anything else a team. From the biggest stars to the last kid that got into the game this club was built on a brotherhood as a team. They

worked  hard, refused to give up and believed in themselves. That is what it was so easy to embrace this team. That is why so many Bulldogs from around the country came back to watch. It was a team for the ages, a team that earned a special place in the hearts of everyone, a team in history that will never be forgotten. The 2012 Class AA state champions, the Butte High Bulldogs.