Maroons fire on all phases in 53-16 road victory

By Derek Hendrickson

STEVENSVILLE — The Butte Central Maroon football team finally put together all three phases Friday night, getting excellent performances from the offense, defense and special teams in route to a decisive 53-16 win over the Stevensville Yellowjackets to spoil their homecoming festivities.

For the first time all season the Maroons got off to a hot start offensively to match their stingy defense, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions.  As usual the defense arrived from the opening kick as senior end Colin McArthur made a huge play on the third snap, reaching Yellowjacket quarterback Bryce Torrey in the backfield, stripping the ball and recovering the fumble to set Central up at the Stevi 25.

The first drive wasn’t exactly simple, however.  Central faced a fourth and 7 that was overcome with a 12 yard pitch and catch from Tanner Kump to Cal Hollow.  After a false start that backed the Maroons into a third 17 they caught a fortuitous bounce when a pass was knocked into the air and junior Nate McGree was there to haul in a 16 yard gain.  On fourth and 1 the Maroons let the big uglies pave the way for a 2 yard Blake Burton touchdown less than 4 minutes in.

As the first quarter continued the Maroons found tough sledding with their usually dependable run game.  This was a common theme throughout but gave the Central play-makers on the outside a chance to go up against man to man coverage.

Central head coach Don Peoples spoke about this after the win, saying “our passing game went very well, they were eight in the box, which made it difficult to run a bit so we threw the ball and our kids did a great job.  We had one lull in the second quarter where we didn’t protect, other than that, our line did a nice job pass protecting, Tanner threw it, we ran good routes and put up some good yardage, if people are gonna put 8 in the box, that’s great, we can out-throw people.”

The yardage numbers coach Peoples referenced were more in just the first half than most teams get in a couple games.  Kump was finding open receivers and they were making huge plays after the catch.  Kump connected on 11 of 17 for 330 yards and 4 scores in the first half alone.

In typical fashion the Maroon players were humble and quick to point out the contributions of those around them.

“They were in a man coverage,” Kump said, “Our main goal this week was to make sure our passing game was on, I just had to deliver the ball, my receivers did all the work, my line did all the work, they blocked great.  I couldn’t take all the credit at all, it was honestly my whole team that did the work for me.”

The videogame-like stats were only halted by the mercy rule, which got rolling with about 2 minutes left in the second quarter, and the Maroons pulling their varsity players after the first drive of the third quarter.

Four Maroon receivers hauled in at least one catch in the first half, with McGree leading the way, grabbing four balls for 112 yards, two of which went for scores.  Cole Harper wasn’t far behind, also pulling in 4 catches for 98 and a TD.  Hollow had three for 71, including 51 on a screen pass where he outran the entire Yellowjacket secondary to the pylon.  Blake Burton didn’t find much running room but did catch one pass for 49 yards.

“He has really good accuracy, that’s one thing he has is really good accuracy,” Harper said of Kump.  “He read them really good too.”

The Maroon defense has been stout all season and this game was no exception. Stevensville didn’t register a first down until their third possession late in the first quarter.  After Torrey completed back to back passes sophomore linebacker Ryan Moodry stepped in front of the third straight attempt.  It was the second drive in a row that ended with the ball in his hands as he punched in a 3 yard score on the previous Central possession.

The stifling Central D forced three turnovers in the first half to go along with 4 punts.  McGree was responsible for the third pick which came on the first scrimmage play after he rushed in a 15 yard touchdown.  Dylan Shea had a solo sack with McArthur and Hollow combining for another.  Hollow came up with 2 batted passes on attempted Torrey rollouts.

“The defense played really well,” Peoples said in praise of his team’s effort, but he also saw some room for improvement.  “The only time they got some yardage was when we had some alignment problems.  We suffered from that a little bit against Laurel and it was a little better this game.  They did a good job, played hard and I think everybody stayed healthy.  We got all of our young kids in the game, so it was a good night for us.”

“It’s pretty different from what we have been going against,” Harper said about the run-heavy attack Stevensville attempted to employ.  “We practiced that all week, to keep contain and not let them get outside.”

The special teams also had some bright spots.  The Central kicking game started to connect with Tyler Kump hitting on 5 of 7 PAT attempts.  He also shared some of the kickoff duties with McGree.  One of McGree’s kicks took a lucky bounce for the Maroons late in the first half.  His attempted squib kick drilled a Yellowjacket lineman and freshman Clay Fisher was there to collect the recovery.  The next play was Hollow’s screen that put the Maroons up 46-0 at the break.

Central put the starters back in for one more series in the third. Kump hit Harper for the only completion which was down to the 2 where Burton scored from a play later. The Maroons scored eight touchdowns on the nine possessions their regulars were in for.

Freshman Cade Holter got his first playing time as a Maroon quarterback.  He completed 1 of 3 passes, finding Noah McGee on a third and long.  Stevensville kept their varsity in the whole game and was able to put up 16 points against the Maroon froshmores in the fourth quarter.

With the win, Central is now 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference play.  The Maroons will host Corvallis next Friday evening at Montana Tech on Bob Green Field.  It was reported that the Blue Devils’ head coach pulled his team from the field during the third quarter of a 55-7 drubbing against Whitefish Friday evening.  Central has put up very lopsided wins versus Corvallis in recent years.

Coach Peoples looked ahead to next week’s game, saying “every game is crucial now, not only is it a big conference game but with the power ranking stuff that we’re faced with in Class A now, every game really counts down the stretch here.  We are excited to be back home though.”

Butte Central            20        26        7          0 53
Stevensville                0          0          0          16
First Quarter

BC — Burton 2 yard run (Tyler Kump kick), 7-0.  Drive 8 plays, 25 yards 2:15
BC — Moodry 3 yard run (Kump kick) 14-0. Drive 7 plays, 78 yards, 2:32
BC — Harper 45 yard reception from Tanner Kump (kick blocked) 20-0. Drive 2 plays, 53 yards, :38
Second Quarter
BC — McGree 15 yard run (pass failed) 26-0. Drive 5 plays, 81 yards, 1:30
BC — McGree 22 yard reception from Kump (kick failed) 32-0.  Drive 3 plays, 51 yards, :53
BC — Harper 40 yard reception from Kump (Tyler Kump kick) 39-0. Drive 1 play, 40 yards, :08
BC — Hollow 51 yard reception from Kump (Tyler Kump kick) 46-0. Drive 1 play, 51 yards :35
Third Quarter
BC — Moodry 2 yard run (Tyler Kump kick) 53-0. Drive 7 plays, 57 yards, 8:17
Fourth Quarter
Stevi — Diepstraten 16 yard run (Diepstraten run) 53-8. Drive 3 plays, 66 yards, 2:17
Stevi — Diepstrten 10 yard run (Diepstraten run) 53-16.  Drive 7 plays, 57 yards, 4:09
— BC, Kump 12-19-0-361, Holter 1-3-1-14. Stevi,Torrey 3-9-2-45 yards.
RUSHING —  BC, Burton 11-36, Kump 2-15, Moodry 5-12, McGree 3-11, Fisher 5-6, Holter 2-(-4). Stevi, Diepstraten 14-88, Fry 6-70, Torrey 8-15, Barker 1-6, LeCoure 2-3.
RECEIVING — BC, Harper 5-129, McGree 4-112, Hollow 3-71, Burton 1-49, McGee 1-14. Stevi, Fry 2-34, Thrall 1-11.

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