First half sinks Bulldogs at Flathead

KALISPELL — Another tough first half spelled doom for Butte High, as the Flathead Braves celebrated homecoming with a 38-10 win over the Bulldogs. Butte fell to 1-6 with the loss, while Kalispell improved to 5-2.

Josh McCracken rushed for 157 yards and four touchdowns from 3, 53, 6 and 34 yards out, while Keaton Krantz took back one of five Kalispell interceptions 25 yards for a touchdown.

Butte’s only points came on a 37-yard field goal from Nathaniel Ferguson in the second quarter and a 6-yard run by Mason Ruppel later in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs slowed the bleeding in the second half, but couldn’t overcome the 31-3 deficit at intermission.

“We came out defensively and played pretty well,” Butte High head coach Arie Grey said. “We got some stops and we moved the ball, but we just couldn’t put it in the endzone before the drive stalled out.”

Butte’s defense stood fast to start the game, forcing a punt and then a fumble turnover, but the Bulldog offense couldn’t get started and went three-and-out followed by a pick six.

Tucker Cronk had three interceptions to lead the Braves defense, while Butte’s Will Kilmer came up big in the defensive backfield with a pile of tackles and an interception.

Quinn Dennehy stepped across the line and hauled in four catches for 101 yards, while Kiley Caprara had five grabs for 37 yards and Jake Salmonsen posted four catches for 38 yards.

“Now we just need to get back to work,” Grey said. “We have to eliminate the little mistakes and do our jobs.”

In other Class AA action, Bozeman blocked a field goal attempt in the finals seconds to preserve a 20-19 win over previously unbeaten Billings Senior. Both teams now have a 6-1 record. Helena Capital handed crosstown rival Helena High a 36-16 beating, while Kalispell Glacier downed Great Falls Russell 28-15. Missoula Big Sky beat Missoula Hellgate 34-6, Missoula Sentinel dropped Great Falls 41-18, and Billings West beat Billings Skyview 34-7.

The Bulldogs will play their final home game of the 2015 season Thursday night when Butte hosts Kalispell Glacier at 7 p.m.

“It will be the last game at Naranche for a lot of these guys,” Grey said. “We’ve got one more opportunity to go out and get a win at home.”

Butte                             0           3          0          7 — 10
Flathead                      7          24        7          0 — 38
First quarter

FLT — Keaton Krantz 25 interception return (Justin Gardner kick), 1:38
Second quarter
FLT — Safety (Nathaniel Ferguson -6 run), 11:53
FLT — Josh McCracken 3 run (Gardner kick), 9:10
FLT — McCracken 53 run (Gardner kick), 6:28
BUT — Ferguson 37 field goal, 5:42
FLT — McCracken 6 run (McCracken run), 4:10
Third quarter
FLT — McCracken 34 run (Gardner kick), 3:17
Fourth quarter
BUT — Mason Ruppel 6 run (Ferguson kick), 7:05
                                    BUT              FLT
First downs                   12                  12
Rushes-yards                25-73             37-204
Passing yards               208                165
Comp-Att-Int               15-39-5          11-19-1
Punts-avg                     2-27               6-34
Fumbles-lost                1-0                 1-0
Penalties-yards             14-105           14-132
— BUT: Quinn Dennehy 5-43, Mason Ruppel 14-37, Will O’Connor 1-17, Nathaniel Ferguson 2-minus 8, Ty Peterson, 3-minus 16. FLT: Josh McCracken 17-152, Seth Adolph 3-27, Payton Boyce 6-20, Logan Thurston 3-9, Ryan Skramovsky 3-5, TEAM 2-0, Bridger Johnson 3-minus 9.
PASSING — BUT: Ty Peterson, 11-30-4-144, Nathaniel Ferguson 4-9-1-64. FLT: Bridger Johnson 11-19-1-165.
RECEIVING — BUT: Quinn Dennehy 4-101, Jake Salmonsen 4-38, Kiley Caprara 5-37, Matt Merzlak 1-16, Will O’Connor 1-16. FLT: James Flannigan 4-69, Keaton Krantz 2-59, Josh McCracken 4-29, Ryan Skramovsky 1-8.

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