Butte High celebrates homecoming this week, capped by a Class AA football clash between the Bulldogs and visiting Billings West. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m Friday at Naranche Stadium. (KBOW, 550 AM. Click here to listen online.)
Butte High’s football team is coming off its second win in three weeks of Class AA action, and while the Bulldogs have been up and down in a number of statistical categories, one thing has been constant: The Bulldogs score points.
A potent Bulldog offense has rattled off at least 41 points in each of its first three outings, as Butte High has shown a wide array of weapons in its arsenal. Led by junior quarterback Dallas Cook, the Purple and White have had little trouble finding the end zone.
After a less than perfect start to the season, Butte High’s defense has come on strong. The Bulldog defenders held Missoula Hellgate scoreless in last week’s thumping of the Knights.
Butte has its work cut out this week, however, as the Bulldogs play host to Billings West, the No. 5 Class AA football team in the latest prep power poll. The Bears come in with a 2-1 record, boasting wins over Great Falls and Helena, while suffering a 37-17 setback against Bozeman last Friday.
“West has a good team,” observed Butte High head coach Arie Grey. “They’ll come in Friday in typical West fashion and play a physical game, and they’ll attack on defense.”
Billings West quarterback Ryan Gallogly averages 237 yards passing with five touchdowns, though he has been intercepted seven times.
Still, Grey said his Bulldogs match up well with the Bears.
“Our guys have definitely improved on defense,” Grey said. “But we’re better on offense and special teams too.”
Butte’s defense got a big performance last Friday from Nate Matteson, who stepped up with seven solo tackles and three assists. Daniel Kloepfel notched three sacks and a tackle for loss, while Mason Woods was in on six tackles.
“Nate had some touchdown-saving tackles for us,” Grey said. “Andre Vialpando was there too, and a couple of his tackles were our last chance.”
Bulldog free safety Tanner Tregidga leads the team over the season in solo tackles with 16, while Zach Bunney has 14. Matteson, Mason Woods and Jarret Rowling have a dozen each. Bo Taylor has 11 solo tackles and three tackles for loss.
Butte’s defense held fast last Friday while the Bulldog offense sputtered into gear.
“We need to start faster,” Grey said. “That’s something we’re working on.”
Dropped passes were one reason for the anemic starts, and it was apparent in the win over Hellgate.
“Every drop we saw was from kids who have made great catches,” he said. “Everyone in the stadium knows they dropped it, so we try to relax them a little and just move on to the next play.”
With the Bulldogs’ fast-paced no-huddle offense, second chances abound. Butte High got off 90 plays against the Knights, and 70 the week before against Skyview.
Completed passes overshadowed the drops last Friday, as Butte High saw a big game from Cory Farstveet, who snagged a pair of TD passes early on. Sophomore sprinter Dalton Daum had a scoring grab and also saw a picturesque diving catch called back by a penalty.
Butte High’s running game also hit high gear, as Bunney broke free for a couple long touchdown runs, while Jake Eisenbarth continues to be effective carrying the ball.
The key to both the run and pass games is a big veteran offensive line that includes tackles Nick Butorovich and Zack Erickson, guards Anthony “Chunk” Moritz and Drew Schleeman, and center Dustin LaMiaux.
The Bulldogs, now 6-1 at Naranchie Stadium, have a tough row to hoe from here on out, beginning with West, which finished second last season.
“That’s what I love about the AA,” Grey said. “It’s fun every week. We just need to control the tempo and take care of the little things. The big things will happen.”
Butte High vs. Bllings West
QB — Dallas Cook, 6-4, 210, jr.
HB — Dalton Daum, 6-1, 165, so.
FB — Zach Bunney, 5-7, 165, sr.
WR — Jon Allen, 5-11, 165, sr.
WR — Bryce Armstrong, 5-10, 165, sr.
TE — Tyler Earles, 6-3, 190, jr.
LT — Zack Erickson, 6-0, 220, sr.
LG — Drew Schleeman, 6-3, 215, sr.
C — Dustin Lamiaux, 6-0, 240, jr.
RG — Anthony Moritz, 6-1, 280, sr.
RT — Nick Butorovich, 6-4, 300, sr.
NG — Anthony Moritz, 6-1, 280, sr.
DE — Daniel Kloepfel, 5-11, 200, sr.
DE — Billy Robinson, 6-0, 225, sr.
OLB — Nate Matteson, 5-10, 175, sr.
ILB — Mason Woods, 5-11, 180, jr.
ILB — Blake Kraus, 5-8, 190, sr.
OLB — Bo Taylor, 5-8, 150, sr.
CB — Zach Bunney, 5-7, 165, sr.
SS — Jarret Rowling, 5-11, 150, sr.
FS — Tanner Tregidga, 5-11, 170, sr.
CB — Andre Vialpando, 6-0, 160, sr.