Butte Central still holding on to playoff hopes
By Bill Foley
Butte Central’s football team will close the season looking for a victory to serve as a springboard for the 2022 season.
The Maroons are also holding out the slightest hope that they could qualify for the playoffs with a win over Stevensville on the Bob Green Field. Kickoff for the Senior Night game is at 7 p.m. (Radio: KOPR 94.1 FM, kopr94.net or on the KOPR app.)
“We’re not mathematically out of it yet,” BC coach Don Peoples Jr. said.
Instead of scoreboard watching throughout the game, though, the Maroons will focus on the task in front of them, Peoples said.
“We haven’t talked about that,” Peoples said of the Maroons’ playoff chances. “We only talked about what we can control and how we can finish.”
Peoples said a win could be a momentum builder for next season. It would also be a great way to send out seniors Drew Badovinac, Eyston Lakkala, Eric hart, Joe Sehulster and Gage Guldseth.
“We have a large number of starters returning. It’s important that we finish strong and get some momentum not next season,” Peoples said. “We also want to honor those five seniors. Those five seniors have been great kids.”
Stevensville comes to town a 2-6. The Yellowjacket wins, like Butte Central’s, have come against Browning and Corvallis.
After beating the Blue Devils 50-8 Oct. 1 in Corvallis, the Yellowjackets lost 64-24 to Dillon and 41-16 to Frenchtown. The last two losses came at home.
“They’ve played teams competitively all year,” Peoples said. “They’ve got a running back, (Kellan) Beller, at 215 pounds. He’s had some real good games running the football, so he’s a concern. They’re big up front They’re not a team we can take lightly.”
Beller, a junior, leads the state in rushing. He averages 6.3 yards per carry while racking up 1,091 yards and nine touchdowns in eight games.
Junior Sahkaia Wehr is a dual threat at quarterback for the Yellowjackets. He has passed for 947 yards and eight touchdowns. He has also thrown 11 picks while completing 4 4percent of his passes.
Wehr averages 5.8 yards per carry and has 305 on the ground this season.
The Maroons have not played since falling 37-28 at Frenchtown on Oct. 15. BC had a rare late-season open date last week.
That extra week helped the Maroons heal up for the regular-season finale.
Juniors Dougie Peoples, the nephew of the head coach, and Eric Loos will be back after missing several weeks with injury. Peoples, a wide receiver, and Loos, a tight end, should both factor into the BC passing game.
“It will be nice to have them back in the lineup,” Coach Peoples said. “We have everybody healthy for Friday.”
That is good news for junior quarterback Luke Garrison, who passed for 148 yards and two touchdowns the last time out. It should also open up things for junior receiver Kyle Holter, who caught both TD strikes two weeks ago.
Holter has 19 receptions for 333 yards and five touchdowns on the season. He is also a threat to score on special teams and as a defensive back.
Those stats only include six games because the Maroons opened the season with a forfeit loss at Polson.
Garrison has passed for six touchdowns on the season. In addition to Holter, Peoples and Loos, Garrison can utilize Zane Moodry, Garrett Button, Rye Doherty, Eyston Lakkala and Konnor Pochervina as weapons in the passing game.
Moodry, a sophomore, has filled in nicely for Loos. Peoples said the two will switch off at tight end now that the junior is back.
Behind linemen Hart, Guldseth, Sehulster, Riley Gelling, Cayden Kibler and Canyon Kibler, Lakkala and Pochervina lead the BC running attack.
Pochervina has racked up 343 yards and five touchdowns on the season. He has 231 yards and three scores over the last two games. Lakkala has 264 yards and four scores.
The Kibler brothers, Hart, Sehulster and Gelling are also forces on the defensive front that will be bolstered by the return of Loos.
Doherty, Pochervina and Lakkala stand out at linebacker, and sophomore Jack Keeley, senior Drew Badovinac and Garrison have been playmakers along with Holter in the secondary.
Ethan Andersch handles the kicking duties for BC. Lakkala is the punter.
Other players suiting up for the Maroons are sophomores Bryce Keane, Greyson Gillis, Jake Tauscher and Ayden Durkin, and freshmen Coy Campbell, Keefer McGree, Owen McPartland, Justus McGree and Michael Hand.