By Bruce Sayler
Football season has been an exam for Butte Central Catholic High School this season with tests of strength and character.
The studies aren’t getting easier, either, as the Maroons face Dillon in a Western A Conference road game at 7 p.m. Friday on the natural grass of Dillon’s Vigilante Field.
“We’re hanging in there,” Butte Cenral head coach Don Peoples Jr. said. “We’re staying positive. We’ve had a bunch of sickness and a bunch of injuries which have been challenging. But, we’ll play hard and fight hard and approach each game like we did before.”
Butte Central lost honors candidate lineman Canyon Kibler to a knee injury earlier in the season and then quarterback Jack Keeley to a shoulder separation two games ago. Both are juniors. Sickness has coursed through the team the past two weeks and the team has still been stubborn about staying confident and determined.
The Maroons go into the game with a 1-4 record while Dillon is sitting at 3-1, having lost only to undefeated reigning state champion Hamilton.
“We’ve played a bunch of football teams and have had challenging injuries,” Peoples said. “But, I’ve liked the way the kids have played hard and stayed focused. They’re putting everything they have into this football season.
“Dillon is always a good football team. They are real good at quarterback with Kee Christiansen and (Kale) Konen runs very hard and with good speed. They also have a stable of receivers who all catch the ball well.
“They are pretty balanced run and pass. Christiansen is a dual threat, and (Treyton) Graham, (Eli) Nourse and (Caden) Hansen are all good receivers. They execute very well.”
Similar traits transfer to the defensive side of the ball.
“They’re really aggressive on defense and they play solid defense,” Peoples said. “Dillon is always well-coached, too.”
Zach McRae is back at the helm for another successful go at guiding the Beavers.
Seniors Rye Doherty and Kyle Holter shared the Butte Central quarterbacking duties last week and will do so again. They’ll both be on the field all the time with Holter also seeing time at running back, wide receiver and, on defense, in the secondary, and Doherty playing wideout and linebacker. They also handle returns on special teams.
“I think we’ll be a week better with Kyle and Rye at quarterback,” Peoples said. “They’re both working hard at learning the position with Jack out and are getting better at it.
“We need a way to get better balanced to complete some passes, too.”
The run was a little better for Butte Central than the pass in last week’s late loss at Corvallis.
“Kyle rushed for 157 yards last week,” People said. “We’ll better at what we do this week. Both Kyle and Rye are good athletes.”
Optimism is buoying the Maroons into hoping the starters they began last week’s game will be the same this week. Peoples said a dose of sickness has continued to weave through the team this week and is hopeful it will not cost any BC players game time Friday.
Senior running back Konnor Pochervina has had his season crumpled so far by injury and sickness.
“And, he’s one of the hardest working kids we’ve ever had,” Peoples said. “He’s had rough luck.”
So, the hopeful prognosis is that the Butte Central offense will have Ayden Durkin at center, Cayden Kibler and Dawson Rodgers at the guards, Riley Gelling and Tanner Keith at the tackles, Eric Loos at tight end, Rye Doherty, Kyle Holter, Zane Moodry and Dougie Peoples rotating through the wide receivers, Pochervina, Holter and Justus McGee switching off at running back, and Doherty and Holter trading duty trading time at quarterback. Ethan Andersch is the kicker.
The projected defensive starters are Cayden Kibler and Michael Peck at tackles, Gelling and Loos at the ends, Doherty, Moodry, Pochervina and Bryce Keane all seeing linebacker time, and Peoples, Holter, McGee and Jake Tauscher in the secondary. Moodry punts.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Coach Peoples said about the Dillon game. “I’m really proud of the kids and we’ll play hard and fight hard. There’s no quit in these kids.”