By Bill Foley
If only a high school soccer match lasted 90 minutes.
That was what Butte High boys’ coach Cody Carpenter was thinking following his Bulldogs’ 4-2 Western AA loss to Helena High Thursday afternoon at the Jeremy Bullock Complex.
“I was really happy that they fought right until the end,” Carpenter said. “I told them another 10 minutes and we might have tied it up.”
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, prep soccer matches last 80 minutes, and the Bulldogs fell to 1-3 as they played for the fourth time in eight days.
Butte High will have to settle for winning the final 40 minutes, as the coach pointed out to his team.
Kyler Smith scored off an assist from Jasper Cook seven minutes into the match, and the Bengals did not trail.
Helena made it a 2-0 game less than a minute later when Travis Robertson found the back of the net.
The Bulldogs, though, answered quickly when Cameron Tobiness scored off an assist from Cooper McKee about a minute after that.
The Bengals (2-1) made it a 4-1 game by the break after goals from Jack Nasset and Nate Braun. That is where the score remains until Butte’s Boyd Dewitt scored off a Jack Luoma header to cut the lead to 4-2 with about 10 minutes left. Daniel Kondowe, who played his first home game for the Bulldogs, got the play started with a long direct kick to Luoma.
Kondowe also got a shot off that Helena Keeper Isaac Nehring went up high to get.
“It was going in,” Carpenter said. “That keeper saved it.”
Dewitt missed a goal just a big high, and Zane Fredlund saw a direct kick sail just wide right.
Much like they did in a loss at Helena Capital on Tuesday, Carpenter said the Bulldogs started the match a little flat.
“Sometimes it takes the other team scoring a couple on us to get us fired up,” Carpenter said. “We’ve got to come out with that intensity right from the beginning.”
By the end, though, the Bengals left town knowing they had a fight on their hands.
“That’s the goal,” Carpenter said. “Win or lose, oh well, but we’re going to compete.”
The coach praised the play of keeper Joe Schrader.
“Joe had some great saves in both halves,” Carpenter said. “They were definitely attacking more in the first half.”
Carpenter also pointed to the play of Kondowe, who helped tighten up the Bulldog defense.
“We put Daniel back there for that reason, to shore up the defense,” Carpenter said. “We wanted to also let him spring free and try to get a goal, and he did get a few shots.”
Reid Whitlock, Riley Doyle, Hunter Holms, Grant Hursh, Edward Kazmierczak, Joe Phillip and Brodger Schutte also competed for the Bulldogs, who were without injured James Hadley in the match that proved soccer is indeed a contact sport.
“It was the hospital ward again today,” Carpenter said. “We had three subs. We ended with none.”
Butte High will now get some time to heal up and work on some things following the intense opening to the season. The Bulldogs will play host to Kalispell Flathead next Thursday before heading to Kalispell to play Glacier on Friday.
Carpenter said the Bulldogs will get to work on Friday.
“With as few subs as we have, we’ve got to be in just a little bit better shape,” the coach said. “We’ll do some running tomorrow, some running Monday, and then slowly cut back on that to get ready for Flathead.”