The Bulldogs will get their second season underway Friday night, as they are set to host a home playoff game against Billings Senior.
Butte High finished as the number 4 seed in the west at (6-3) while Billings Senior earned the 5 seed from the East at (4-5). None of that matters because both teams are 0-0 heading into this matchup.
80 days ago, both teams took the field for their first time not knowing what October may look like.
After all, let’s be honest, a lot of people around the state counted out the Bulldogs before their first game even happened. They lost some big impact play makers and leaders as seniors, Jace Stenson QB, wideout Cam Gurnsey, and lineman Zach Tierney all moved on to the college level.
That’s the funny thing about sports and new seasons beginning everyone thinks they know what to expect and where this team would finish, and 1 week ago they were an overtime loss away from hoisting the Wests 1 seed.
In stepped the new Bulldogs who believed in themselves tenfold, the outside chatter was just that outside and it didn’t matter. Each day and week they got 1 percent better as coach Grey said. An unproven team took it day by day, week by week, and one game at a time. In stepped Rueso Battermann to replace Gurnsey and what a compliment he has been this season to QB Bo Demarais who has also grew and flourished into a great leader at quarterback. Bo has connected with Rueso 37 times this season for 6 touchdowns, Rueso stepped up all season and made huge plays, including a 3-touchdown performance in a comeback win at now top seeded Kalispell Glacier. He has garnered 565 yards; he averages 16 yards a grab and 63 receiving yards a game.
His leader of the offense, that unproven blonde kid? Yeah him. Mr. Bo Demarais has had quite the senior season at the helm of the Bulldog offense. Bo nearly threw for 2,000 yards this season coming just 31 yards shy of the mark at 1,969 passing yards, he has a mind blowing 22 total touchdowns, he has thrown for 15 pass touchdowns and rushed for 7 of them. He’s completed 160 of 279 pass attempts for a 57% completion percentage and a passing total of 218 yards a game, he’s thrown 10 interceptions and has a QB rating of 82.3, not bad for an unproven replacement QB, absolute stud!
The Bulldog work horse Trey Hansen who also stepped into a leading role in the Bulldog backfield has chewed off yards on the ground all season. Trey passed the Century mark of 100 rushing yards a game twice this season, he’s carried the ball 115 times for 501 yards and 3 scores, while averaging 63 rush yards a game. The second tantum of the 1, 2 punch in the Bulldog run game is junior Karson Pumnea, who has some very simper stats to Trey, 11 carries for 448 yards, he passed the century mark once this season and has 4 rushing scores and is averaging just under 50 rush yards a game.
Other compliments and offensive weapons have been, Sam Sampson, Will Taylor, Tocher Lee, and Cayde Stajcar at the WR position, while sophomore tight end Hudson Luedtke has been a security blanket all season for Bo like Gronk was to Tom. Hudson catches everything that is thrown at him it seems. Husdson has caught 48 balls for almost 600 yards and 5 scores, averaging 12 yards a catch and 66 receiving yards a game.
On the defensive side of the ball another group that was also thought to be unproven is the heart of the 23 Bulldogs and their defense. Sure, it’s great to watch scores and the offense putting up points, but none of it happens without the special group on defense. Every game they put the team on their back and continued to give their offense ample opportunity to see the ball again, that same defense helped the Bulldogs not erase one but two, 21-point 4th quarter deficits for huge wins that would lead to a 5-game win streak.
Anchored by seniors Kade Scheelman, Kyler Stenson, Luke Verlanic, Casey Nolan, and Aiden Cuchine all lead the Dogs with almost 8 plus tackles a game. Kade and Kyler have been very disruptive to offenses this year and make sure they know they are there. The ever-dynamic Torre Tempel with his incredible defensive presence and play making ability, Will Stepan diving on loose balls, Tocher Lee intercepting balls and returning punt and kickoff returns to the house, the defense and special teams is a magical group, and they never stop fighting until that final whistle sounds.
The Bulldogs and their seniors are only guaranteed this game at the historic confines of Narache Stadium as Billings Senior is set to try and create some more heartbreak for the Dogs. Junior QB Ryder Murdock leads Billings Senior after taking over for senior Peyton Oakly who played 5 games as QB this season. Ryder after stepping in has completed 42-71 attempts for 596 and 3 touchdowns. Jalen Rosas has 11 total touchdowns and averages a whopping 111 yards rushing a game. Maclain Burckley leads the Broncs with nearly 80 receiving yards a game. Joey DiMatteo has 4 interceptions on the year, while Vaughn Beierlozar is racking up just under 12 tackles a game.
It is sure to be a great matchup at the best venue in the state, with a trip to Bozeman High next week on the line, we have seen so much magic there this season alone, what will Friday night unfold? Tune in Friday night at 7pm to find out and bundle up, she’s going to be a chilly one.