Jarrett Wilson and his band of Pirates stop Maroons

By Bruce Sayler 

 If you’re an opponent, Jarrett Wilson can shiver your timbers. 

The Polson Pirates’ quarterback ran for two touchdowns, passed for four and led his team to a 49-14 victory over Butte Central Friday night in a Western A Conference high school football game that opened the season. 

The game was played on a warm, sunny evening in front of a good-sized crowd as Butte Central borrowed Naranche Stadium for the tilt due to Bob Green Field at Montana Tech, the Maroons’ usual homefield, in the middle of repair work related to electrical equipment. 

Speedy Wilson passed for 243 yards and ran for 128 as the Pirates looked like they were picking up where they left off last year – which was in the semifinals of the state Class A playoffs. 

He starred on defense, too, with a fumble recovery, but most of the play on that side of the ball spotlighted Trent Wilson, who intercepted three passes. A third brother, Colton Wilson, is also on the team featuring the set of triplets. 

So, the Maroons were seeing double – or even triple – much of the night with the punishment the Pirates were delivering. Their plan of conversion efficiency was reflected in piling up 25 first downs for the game and limiting Butte Central to only 10.

“That kid’s a great quarterback,” said Butte Central head coach Don Peoples Jr., being duly impressed. “Their speed at quarterback gave us trouble. “He extended plays and anytime you give anybody that much time they can hurt you. He is a great high school player.” 

Wilson’s touchdown passes were of 17 and 11 yards, both to Brock Henriksen, 20 yards to Owen McElwee and 30 yards to Keyen Nash. Wilson broke big-play scoring runs on keepers of eight and 79 yards. 

Nash also finished with 128 yards rushing as the Pirates rolled up 504 yards in total offense. Wilson was unshakeable. The Maroons sacked him six times and he still performed at the high level. Trent Wilson was his brother’s favorite receiver with six catches for 92 yards. 

Polson kicker Mia Mercer put her touch on the game, also, successful on all seven extra points she kicked. 

BC players stacked up some big numbers, too. Receiver Kyle Holter caught eight passes for 141 yards while setting up both of his team’s touchdowns – passes from quarterback Jack Keeley measuring nine yards to Zane Moodry and 24 to Dougie Peoples. 

Riley Gelling, Cayden Kibler, Canyon Kibler and Eric Loos led a good pass rush that caught Wilson but couldn’t stop him completely. 

“I still believe we will be a good football team,” coach Peoples said. “We have to clear up some things, but I thought our guys played hard.” 

They did. 

The passing game was potent for BC with Keeley throwing 261 yards. Three picks by Trent Wilson, stifled the Butte Central air game, and the ground game sputtered after star senior Konnor Pochervina sprained an ankle early in the contest. He continued to play but was hampered. 

“We have to make sure that when we get in the red zone, we find a way to score,” Peoples said. “There were at least three times we got there and came up empty.  

“We had some good stretches in the second and third quarters and we did some real good things on both sides of the ball. We had five or six guys catch passes. We need to do a better job blocking up front, but two of our guys there were playing in their first high school football game tonight. So, that’ll get better.” 

Though the Maroons did self-destruct in some instances, the major source of their problems was looking at them from across the line. 

“We got matched up against a good football team,” Peoples said. 

Butte Central’s semifinal-round win over Miles City before going on to win the 1973 State A championship at Cut Bank was the last time the Maroons had played a varsity football game at Naranche Stadium prior to Friday night. The 1973 structure was different, demolished later and dormant as a football facility for several years until the new Naranche was built and opened about 10 years ago.

Almost all of Holter’s catches were of the leaping, acrobatic grab variety. Seven Maroons wound up with catches from Keeley, who threw well and showed good speed on the run.  

Polson took a 14-0 lead on its first two possessions. Wilson marched the Pirates downfield to the 8-yard line from where he darted in for a touchdown. Butte Central had to punt away its first possession and the Pirates capitalized for a drive that ended in Wilson’s 17-yard TD pass to Henriksen. 

Polson spread the difference to 21-0 with the left-handed Wilson hooking up with McElwee on a 20-yard screen pass play for the team’s third touchdown.  

Butte Central bounced back and got on the scoreboard before halftime when Holter got behind the Polson secondary for a 47-yard completion from Keeley that positioned the Maroons for their first touchdown of the season. Holter’s route on the play cleared out a sideline aisle that Moodry turned up into after snaring the Keeley pass. Moodry followed the block, broke a tackle and crossed the goal line on the 9-yard scoring play. 


Second Half

The Pirates owned a 21-7 halftime lead, but it seemed BC was gaining momentum. Polson didn’t allow it for long. 

Wilson and Henriksen linked up on an 11-yard TD pass seven plays after intermission. 

The Maroons rebounded once more and it was a 38-yard aerial, Keeley to Holter, that put them at Polson 24-yard line. In the next play, Holter drew the Pirate secondary toward him again; while Keeley found Peoples ready to out leap a defender in the right side of the end zone. He did, and BC was within two TDs of Polson again. 

However, the Pirates answered again – right away. Two plays after the touchdown, Wilson broke loose down the south sideline for a 79-yard scoring sprint while passing almost every player and all the officials on the field easily. 

Polson’s command was 35-14 after the third quarter and the Pirates tacked on a pair of big-play TDs in the last period. Both came from Nash, on a 30-yard pass play from Wilson and on an 85-yard dash up the field. 

Butte Central is scheduled to play at home at Bob Green Field next Friday when the Maroons are to take on Browning in a Western A game. 


Polson 14 7 14 14 – 49 

Butte Central 0 7 7 0 – 14 

First Quarter 

POL – Jarrett Wilson 8 run (Tia Mercer kick), 9:28. Drive – 64 yards, 8 plays. Key play – Owen McElwee 30-yard pass from J. Wilson to Butte Central 9-yard line. 

POL – Brock Henriksen 17 pass from J. Wilson (Mercer Kick), 5:44. Drive – 79 yards, 8 plays. Key play – Henriksen 16-yard pass from J. Wilson to Butte Central 16-yard line. 

Second Quarter 

POL – Owen McElwee 20 pass from J. Wilson (Mercer kick) 9:52. Drive – 63 yards, 8 plays. Key play – Trent Wilson interception of Butte Central pass at Polson 24-yard line. 

BC – Zane Moodry 9 pass from Jack Keeley (Ethan Andersch kick), 7:35. Drive – 63 yards, 6 plays. Key play – Kyle Holter 47-yard pass from Keeley to Polson 16-yard line. 

Third Quarter 

POL – Henriksen 11 pass from J. Wilson (Mercer kick), 9:46. Key plays — 7 yards, 5 plays. Key play – J. Wilson fumble recovery at Butte Central 17-yard line. 

BC – Dougie Peoples 24 pass from Keeley (Andersch kick), 8:33. Drive 63 yards, 3 plays. Key play – Kyle Holter 38-yard pass from Keeley to Polson 24-yard line. 

POL – J. Wilson 79 run (Mercer kick), 8:06. Drive – 80 yards, 2 plays. Key play – Scoring play. 

Fourth Quarter 

POL – Keyen Nash 30 pass from J. Wilson (Mercer kick), 7:16. Drive – 59 yards, 7 plays. Key play – Scoring play. 

POL – Nash 85 run (Mercer kick), 3:43. Drive – 81 yards, 3 plays. Key play – Scoring play. 


Pol BC 

First downs 25 10 

Rushes-yards 34-261 20-19 

Passes 19-34-0 19-37-3 

Passing yards 243 261 

Total offense 504 280 

Return yards 13 18 

Punts-avg. X-3-22.3 4-34.9 

Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1 

Penalties-yards 9-90 4-35 

x—includes partially blocked punt. 

Individual Leaders 

RUSHING – Polson,  Keyen Nash 12-128, Jarrett Wilson 20-128, Trent Dwelle 2-5. Butte Central, Konnor Pochervina 12-18, Jack Keeley 7-1. 

PASSING – Polson, J. Wilson 19-34-0=243. Butte Central, Keeley 19-37-3-261. 

RECEIVING – Polson, Trent Wilson 6-92, Henriksen 6-59, Tyler Wenderoth 4-43, Nash 1-30, Owen McElwee 1-29. Butte Central, Kyle Holter 8-141, Eric Loos 4-36, Dougie Peoples 2-33, Justus McGee 1-17, Zane Moodry 2-14, Pochervina 1-5, Rye Doherty 1-3. 

TURNOVERS – Fumble recoveries: Polson 1 (J. Wilson), Butte Central 0; Pass interceptions: Polson 3 (T. Wilson 3), Butte Central 0.