Maroons play at Polson for first time since 2001

Butte Central can greatly better its position for a state playoffs berth with a win against Polson Friday night in Class A high school football.

The Maroons are clinging to one of two available wild card spots so far with three games to play in the regular season, the final two against Dillon and Hamilton, which are currently top four teams in the state power rankings. So, improving their position is a challenge that begins with Polson, which holds the western side’s other wild card, so far.

The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Polson. It is a non-conference game, but will have playoff implications because of the new format this year that uses power ranking points to determine postseason qualifiers. (Radio: KOPR 94, 94.1 FM or online)

The trip marks BC’s first to Polson since the 2001 season.

“We’ve never been to their new stadium,” Butte Central head coach Don Peoples Jr. said of the new facility the Pirates opened since that last meeting. “We played in their old stadium.

“They are a good team. They’ve played a killer schedule with their losses being to Hamilton, Whitefish and Dillon. They beat Corvallis and Frenchtown and their first game (slated with Browning) was cancelled because of smoke.”

Consequently, Polson has records of 1-1 in the Northwestern A Conference and 2-3 for the season.

Polson presents a balanced attack that divides the ball-carrying duties between three good runners in 6-foot, 175-pound sophomore Colton Cote, 6-2, 190-pound junior Tanner Wilson and 6-4, 200-pound junior Matthew Rensvold. Wilson is also the quarterback and son of Scott Wilson, the longtime head coach of the Pirates. They have gained almost 750 yards on the ground between them this season.

Wilson has completed 56 percent of his passes for 717 yards and seven touchdowns. The team’s leading receivers are 6-3, 180-pound senior Hudson Smith and 6-0, 185-pound senior Jacob Harrod. Smith has 23 catches for 379 yards and ranks second in the Northwestern A Conference in receiving.

“They have a good-sized team,” Peoples said. “It will be a difficult game for us. Tanner Wilson is a big quarterback and Rensvold runs the ball well, and they also pass to him. They have a couple of receivers over 6 feet tall and they are huge up front.”

The Polson line includes 6-5, 320-pound junior Trevor Corley, 6-4, 250-pound senior, Zack Mooso, 6-0, 240-pound junior Kyle Clendinin, 5-10, 240-pound senior Nick Marquardt and 6-1, 230-pound senior Isaiah Williams. The Pirates also have four other linemen weighing 210 pounds or more.

Harrod leads the defense with three interceptions and is also Polson’s kicker and punter.

Butte Central is coming off a good 35-21 victory over Corvallis, which put its records at 2-0 in conference play at 5-1 overall.

The Maroons avoided any more injuries last weekend and are starting to get some players back who had missed some time while healing.

“We’re still searching for the team to play a full football game,” Peoples said. “The kids have been practicing hard and if we’re clicking on all cylinders, this could be a very good football team. We’re striving for that each week.”

The coach noted the team has been able to work more personnel through the rotations as the season has progressed and lesser experienced players gained playing time.

Junior Blake Burton, with 419 yards since his return from injury, is BC’s leading rusher and ran for 175 yards in the win over Corvallis. Junior Nate McGree also sees time at the running back spot. Junior quarterback Tanner Kump and sophomore fullback Ryan Moodry also get carries.

Kump ranks No. 2 in the Southwestern A Conference in passing. He has completed almost 58 percent of his aerials. Eleven of the completions have been touchdowns. Kump’s total passing yardage is 1,352.

Senior receiver Cole Harper has the most catches in Southwestern A with 36. He has grabbed three TD passes and averages more than 82 yards a game in receptions. Cal Hollow has 18 catches with three touchdowns, two of the scoring receptions coming last week on game-breaker plays. McGree has 11 catches with four touchdowns.

The Butte Central defense has intercepted nine passes over its six games to lead the league in the department. McGree has three of the picks to lead the conference while Moodry and junior cornerback Ryan Ashby each have two interceptions. Hollow leads the league in returning kickoffs and senior Kyle Schulte is the No. 2 punter in Southwestern A.

Schulte was in on five sacks, three of them solo, versus Corvallis last week. Colin McArthur, Moodry, Ethan St. John, Sam Johnston and Jake Michelotti were also defensive stars with efforts that included tackles for loss of yardage.

The Maroons are expected to play rotating personnel of Dylan Shea at center and inside linebacker, Michelotti at offensive guard and defensive tackle, Ryan Richards at offensive guard and defensive tackle, St. John at offensive tackle, defensive tackle and defensive end, Schulte at offensive tackle and defensive end, McArthur at tight end and defensive end, Harper at wide receiver and cornerback, Hollow at wide receiver and outside linebacker, McGree at wide receiver, running back and safety, Johnston at wide receiver and outside linebacker, Jared Schneider at wide receiver, Archie Petritz on the offensive line and at linebacker, Burton at running back and inside linebacker, Moodry at fullback and inside linebacker, Kump at quarterback, Hunter Hartwick at inside linebacker and Ashby at cornerback. Schulte is also the punter and Tyler Kump performs the kicking chores.

“We can almost guarantee being at least a wild card team with a win,” Peoples said of the importance of the game relating to postseason possibilities. “Every game is important and interesting.”

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Print this Page

Print Friendly, PDF & Email