The mood was much better this Friday night on the Butte Central sidelines after the Maroons football game.
A Wyatt Kingston-led effort sparked a 40-8 romp over Livingston in Class A non-conference play and a dramatic turnaround in play from the previous week’s season opener.
So, it was a successful bounce-back for BC from the 20-12 loss to Belgrade in which the offense sputtered and the defense gave ground. Versus Livingston on the same Bob Green Field site, Butte Central balanced run and pass for 430 yards in total offense and had its defense limit The Rangers’ Wing-T to under 100 yards on the ground.
Really, the Rangers were almost under 100 in total offense for the game except for a long pass play late for their only touchdown while the reserves finished out the game clock.
“I’m proud of the kids and the way they bounced back,” Don Peoples Jr., head coach of the Maroons, said on the sidelines of the Montana Tech facility. “They worked awfully hard this week. We did a good job offensively this week in executing the passing game and the running game.
“On defense, Livingston was missing two of their backs, which I’m sure hurt them, but our defense hunkered down and had a good plan against an offense that’s especially hard to prepare for. “Petey” and “Burnsie” and all our defensive coaches had a good game.”
The references were to BC defensive coordinator Tom Peterson, defensive line coach Stephen Burns and defensive backs coaches Dan Chandler and Cody Kelly.
Of all the smiles after dishing out the thrashing, the widest might have belonged to the deserving Kingston. He averaged 18;8 yards a carry as he ran for 188 yards on only 10 totes. He also returned a pass interception 37 yards and a kick 45 yards to accumulate 270 multipurpose yards.
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior scored four touchdowns — on runs of 5, 4 and 35 yards, and on the pick-six. He also produced big plays that set up two of his own touchdowns and one for teammate Chad Peterson with runs of 48 and 72 yards, and the runback of a free kick.
“We decided our motto was to be ‘Brothers’ and we would have each other’s backs,” Kingston said, indicating the Butte Central players looked inside themselves and toward each other a lot during the past week’s preparations. “We practiced a little harder.”
The Maroons built a 12-0 first-quarter lead as Kingston scored his first touchdown and Connor McGree completed a 79-yard pass play from quarterback Danny Peoples that was picturesque in execution with at least two terrific downfield blocks by other receivers.
The halftime score was 32-0 with Kingston scoring twice, once on offense and once on defense, and Peoples linking with Chad Peterson on a 19-yard TD pass play.
Defensive end Marcus Ferriter put two BC points on the board with a safety, trapping 275-pound Livingston punter Chris Emter in the end zone. The free kick and Kingston’s long return then followed before the running back took the first-down handoff and sped 35 yards to pay dirt.
The clock then ran continuously on the 35-point rule until the Rangers’ late TD with only a minute and a half left — a 63-yard bomb from sophomore quarterback Sterling Lay to River Solomonson. It put the clock back on regular regulation.
Butte Central nearly had another touchdown, but Kale Guldseth’s punt return was called back because of a penalty.
Kingston insisted that practice and preparation brought about the victory, and forged more cohesion among the team members. The rewards for the hard work were realized with not only the win, but the good feeling accompanying it.
Butte Central finished with 246 total rushing yards. Peoples, who played despite having a sprained ankle, 6 of 10 passes for 173 yards with no interceptions. However, he had no carries in the running games and didn’t play on defense where he sees some duty normally as a safety. He also turned his kicking duties over to Mike Cooney and the punting chores to Kyle Schulte. Schulte’s only punt measured 51 yards.
While the downfield blocking by receivers was good, so was the effort up front by the line, allowing the offense to roll. The defense was strong again,. Kingston’s pick turned around a drive and one by Cole Harper snuffed another Livingston opportunity. Kyle Harrington and Kaemen Richards also came up big on stops as did Ferriter with his safety that also saw some assistance from Kingston and McGree. Peterson’s blocking and tackling also contributed much to the effort.
The 1-1 Maroons will travel to Billings next weekend for the Bishops’ Bowl non-conference game against Eastern Division member and state Class A defending champion Billings Central.
Livingston 0 0 0 8 — 8
Butte Central 12 20 8 0 — 40
BC — Wyatt Kingston 5 run (pass failed), 11:34. Drive — 58 yards in 3 plays. Key play — Kingston 48-yard run to Livingston 5-yard line.
BC — Connor McGree 79 pass from Danny Peoples (pass failed), 5:38. Drive — 96 yards in 4 plays. Key play — Scoring play.
BC — Kingston 4 run (run failed), 10:12. Drive — 68 yards in 8 plays. Key play — Kale Guldseth 43-yard pass from Peoples to Livingston 1-yard line.
BC — Chad Peterson 19 pass from Peoples (Mike Cooney kick), 4:36. Drive — 91 yards in 3 plays. Key play — Kingston 72-yard run to Livingston 19-yard line.
BC — Kingston 37 pass interception return (Cooney kick), :38. Drive — none. Key play — Scoring play.
BC — Safety, Marcus Ferriter tackled Livingston punter Chris Emter in the end zone, 10:28.
BC — Kingston 35 run (kick blocked), 10:02. Drive — 35 yards in 1 play. Key play — Kingston 45-yard kick return to Livingston 35-yard line.
LIV — River Solomonson 63 pass from Sterling Lay ((Solomonson pass from Lay), 1:31. Drive — 68 yards in 2 plays. Key play — Scoring play.
First down 8 12
Rushes-yards 35-95 20-246
Passes 2-5-2 7-12-0
Passing yards 69 184
Return yards 0 50
Punts-avg. 4-42.5 1-51.0
Fumbles-lost 3-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 7-50 9-60
RUSHING — Livingston, Gunnar Lehrer 11-48, Cole Jesson 9-31, Carlos Morales 8-20, Jordan Lehrer 4-3, Chris Emter 2-(-3)., Colton Holdorf 1-(-4). Butte Central, Wyatt Kingston 10-188, Tanner Kump 1-27, Kyle Harrington 4-22, Cole Harper 3-18, Nate McGree 1-4, Team 1-(-13).
PASSING — Livingston, Sterling Lay 1-1-0-63, Holdorf 1-4-2-6. Butte Central, Danny Peoples 6-10-0-173, Harper 1-2-0-11.
RECEIVING — Livingston, River Solomonson 1-63, Cole Jesson 1-6. Butte Central, Connor McGree 2-89, Kale Guldseth 1-43, Chad Peterson 3-39, Dalton Sessions 1-13.
For more photos from Jason Silvernale, go to silvernale.smugmug.com.