A win by Butte Central over Dillon Friday at Bulldog Memorial Stadium could set up three-way tie for the Southwestern A championship.
If Anaconda beats Hamilton and the Maroons knock off the defending Class A state champion Beavers, each team will finish the regular season with a 4-1 record and a tiebreaker will come into play.
All three teams already locked up playoff berths.
The Maroons (4-4 overall), however, want no part of such talk. They are focused on one thing: beating Dillon.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. (KOPR, 94.1. Click here to listen online.)
“To be honest, we haven’t even looked at the tiebreakers,” BC coach Don Peoples Jr. said.
A Maroon win over the No. 2 Beavers (5-1) would be an upset. A major upset.
The Beavers’ lone loss came to No. 1 Billings Central. Quarterback Ben Folsom missed most of that game with a concussion.
Since that loss, the Beavers have outscored their Southwestern A opponents 216-7. They have scored 56 points in three straight games, including shutout victories over Corvallis and Anaconda.
“They are very talented on all three phases,” Peoples said.
Peoples pointed to last year’s 54-7 loss in Dillon. The Beavers turned a 14-7 game into a rout with 19 quick points in the final 3 minutes, 20 seconds of the first half.
“In a matter of three minutes it got out of hand,” Peoples said. “That’s how good they are. The can put points on the bard in a hurry.”
Dillon lost a bunch of key players from last year. But coach Terry Thomas, who is looking for his sixth state title since 2000, has reloaded. Dillon has 21 seniors on the team.
“That’s amazing,” Peoples said. “There are Class AA teams that don’t have 21 seniors.”
Folsom moved to quarterback and been nearly flawless. His numbers don’t jump off the chart because he has spent so much time on the sideline during blowouts. He has weapons, led by receivers Austin Carver and M.J. Simpkins and running back Cooper Lamey, have the same problem.
The Maroons have some weapons, too, and they’ll need them against the Beavers.
“For us to compete with them, we have to move the ball,” Peoples said. “We feel our offense has moved the ball all year. We have to move the ball and finish our drives.”
Senior quarterback Brady Tippett has passed for 1,788 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 394 and 10 touchdowns in BC’s spread offense.
Juniors Kale Guldseth and Connor McGree have been big-time playmakers at receiver. Guldseth has caught 48 passes for 657 yards and six touchdowns. McGree, the tight end, hauled in 38 passes for 676 yards and seven scores.
BC will be one weapon down, however, junior running back Wyatt Kingston, who has been a major force in the passing game, broke his wrist during a long kickoff return in last week’s 50-20 win at Corvallis. Sophomore Kaemen Richards will take Kingston’s spot on offense.
The Maroons also have weapons in Chad Peterson, Northey Tretheway and Dalton Sessions, who caught his first varsity TD last week.
The BC running game is in good hands with the mobile quarterback along with senior running back Joe Joyce. Joyce has racked up 453 yards and eight touchdowns on 111 carries.
He’ll run behind a line made up of Liam Doran, Frank Joyce, Brant Ahlborn, Connor Schulte and Marcus Ferriter.
Senior Kolten Lamiaux, who has been out since the Anaconda game, will miss again with concussion symptoms. Peoples said he’s likely done for the seasons.
“That’s too bad,” Peoples said. “He worked so hard.”
Peterson will take Kingston’s spot at linebacker and play alongside Richards and hard-hitting Ben Holt.
Schulte, Frank Joyce, Ferrtier and McGree make up a formidable defensive front, while Danny Peoples, Joe Joyce, Guldseth and Tretheway give the Maroons a speedy, athletic secondary.
“In the last couple weeks I think we matured and gained some confidence,” Peoples said. “Our kids have great respect for Dillon. We scrimmaged them in the summer, and they know how good they are, but I know our kids will go out and compete.”
The conference champion will receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The second-place team will play a home game next week, while the third-place team hits the road.
Peoples said the Maroons enter the postseason with one eye on the playoffs and one eye on the future. The coach pointed to his froshmore team that went undefeated this season, blowing out every opponent except for Dillon along the way.
“We’re really excited to make the playoffs,” the coach said. “Our sophomore kids had a great year, and we’ve got a lot of excitement for the future. I don’t want to say we’re not focused on this year, but we’re going to use each game in the playoffs as an opportunity to get better.”
Butte Central Maroons
Don Peoples Jr. (24th season)
QB — Brady Tippett, 5-11, 180, sr
RB — Joe Joyce, 5-10, 170, sr; Kaemen Richards, 6-1, 195 so, 5-9, 170 jr
WR — Kale Guldseth, 5-8, 140, jr; Chad Peterson, 5-10, 160, so; Dalton Sessions, 6-0, 175, so; Northey Tretheway, 5-7, 155, sr
TE — Connor McGree, 6-2, 215, jr
C — Liam Doran, 5-2, 195, so
G —Frank Joyce, 5-10, 220, sr; Brant Ahlborn, 6-3, 276, jr
T — Connor Schulte, 5-10, 220, jr; Marcus Ferriter, 6-4, 215, so
T — Schulte; Frank Joyce
E — Ferriter; McGree
ILB — Kaemen Richards, 6-1, 195, so
OLB — Ben Holt, 5-9, 188, so, Peterson
FS — Danny Peoples, 5-11, 155, so
SS — Joe Joyce
C — Guldseth; Tretheway
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