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‘Dogs aim to rebound against Broncs

Butte High will look for a little homecoming magic Friday when the Bulldogs host Billings Senior in a Class AA football battle. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Naranche Stadium.

The Bulldogs (1-2) are looking for some momentum after dropping two straight – the most recent a 38-7 loss at Bozeman last weekend. Senior, on the other hand, is rolling with three straight wins. The Broncs beat Missoula Sentinel 40-3, blanked Missoula Big Sky 27-0, and most recently handed crosstown rival Billings West a 27-0 decision.

“They’re definitely talented on defense,” Butte High head coach Arie Grey said of the Broncs. “They’re an attacking, physical team that likes to create confusion. We’re excited to have the opportunity to play them; what a great challenge.”

Opportunity

Grey said his Bulldogs need to take a look at their opportunities. Last week against Bozeman, Butte missed a number of opportunities. With players injured, younger athletes have the opportunity to step up this week.

“You have to be able to take advantage of the opportunities you have,” Grey said. “If we can do that and then get into a flow and dictate the tempo of the game, then we can create some of our own opportunities.”

Butte High is more than a man down, as injuries have been difficult to deal with this season. In addition to the loss of senior quarterback Dylan Cook and senior receiver/defensive back Paul Campbell, the Bulldogs absorbed another tough setback when senior captain Riley Vaughn injured his foot in the game against Bozeman. The starting offensive guard will be sidelined for a couple of weeks.

“It isn’t very often you see half of your captains walk out onto the field in their street clothes,” Grey said, though he added that it’s just another opportunity for another player to show what he can do. “Hey, it’s the next man up. Our backups have to remember they’re only one play away from being on the field. They’ve got to be prepared and realize what’s at stake.”

Despite the adversity the team has faced, Grey said he’s been impressed with how his Bulldogs have handled the situation.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the kids and how they’ve come back to work,” he said. “We’re excited to be back here to play homecoming, and now we’re going to take care of the opportunities we get and the ones we create in all three phases of the game.”

Sophomore quarterback Ty Peterson continues to improve his game management skills.

“Ty had a great week, but he’s an extremely smart kid,” Grey noted. “Now we need the guys around him to step up and make their own opportunities.”

A key for Butte’s success this week will be to start playing right out of the gates. Receiver Kiley Caprara showed some fire playing against the Hawks last Friday, and will aim to get some early catches to help get the Bulldog offense rolling.

“Kiley does great things when he gets the ball. He’s dangerous,” Grey said. “Other guys like Will O’Connor have been doing good things for us all year, but it’s got to be an every-time thing for everyone. Every time we get out there we need to do something special.”

Butte’s defense will need to be ready as well, as the Broncs come in averaging more than 30 points of offense per game. Senior’s junior quarterback Nate Dick has plenty of experience to go with an accurate arm, while the Broncs boast Tyger Frye and Sam Sparks running out of the backfield.

“We’ve been doing great things on defense and Friday we’ll need to make plays at the point of attack,” Grey said. “The thing I love about our defense is they battle every day. They compete and they work hard.”

Everyone will get the chance to shine Friday in front of the Butte High homecoming crowd.

“We need to go out and relax, play the game and love what we’re doing,” he said. “We need to get everyone to do their job, every guy, every play and good things will happen.

“We’ve got an opportunity to get that bad taste out of our mouth in front of the best fans in the world.”



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