Maroons send Browning home with second loss 51-12

By Bruce Sayler 

Butte Central got back up. The Maroons celebrated their St. Ann’s celebration night, minus the gold jerseys, with a 51-12 blowout of Browning in a Western A Conference high school football game at Bob Green Field Friday night on the Montana Tech campus. 

BC lineman Riley Gelling, a fourth-year starter in the trenches and a senior co-captain, said emotions and work ethics were on high this week at Butte Central practices after being throttled 49-14 in last week’s season-opener. 

Head coach Don Peoples Jr. agreed. Also, senior Kyle Holter switched from standout wide receiver to fill-in running back and responded with 154 yards on 14 carries, including two touchdowns, while spelling starter Konnor Pochervina, who missed the game with a bad ankle. 

Throw in junior quarterback Jack Keeley, too, except for that he was doing the most good throwing with 191 yards passing on 10 completions in 20 attempts, including TD throws of 5 and 73 yards both to Dougie Peoples, 12 to Rye Doherty, 13 to Eric Loos and 38 to Zane Moodry in a five-TD passing performance. 

The Maroons’ defense allowed only eight first downs and limited the Browning passing attack to 57 yards. The 35-point difference rule had the game clock running for a major share of the third quarter and throughout the fourth in a short second half after Butte Central had opened a 41-6 halftime lead. 

Holter’s TD runs measured 29 and 6 yards. The BC scoring was rounded out by Ethan Andersch’s 40-yard field goal and five points-after touchdowns. 

“I feel like we pushed really hard in practice this week,” Gelling said, adding the team began a new motivational program with the daily awarding of a sticker for the player “with the best vibes” in practice.

“I feel like we came together as a line and really made a lot of progress this week and tonight,” he said, adding that the toughest part of being a BC linemen is “having to go, go, go because our legs get tired.” 

He acknowledged that some of the leg fatigue for linemen, who are pushing against wannabe immovable forces in the form of opposing linemen every play, can also be attributed to playing both offense and defense in many cases. Gelling also lines up on special teams, providing strength, athleticism and leadership. 

The Maroons were out to a 27-0 jump on the Indians with four unanswered touchdowns. They added a fifth with the long Keeley-to-Peoples pass early in the second period. Browning then got on the scoreboard. The Indians proved to be an explosive opponent but stalled themselves too often with 18 penalties to be able to hang with their opponents. 

Browning’s first touchdown was a 33-yard run speedy Tahj Wells broke in the second quarter. The Indians scored again in the third when Tommy Running Rabbit crashed three yards over the goal line to cash a golden opportunity, a fumble by the Maroons just beneath their own goalposts. 

However, BC set the tone early with the first TD not quite 3 ½ minutes into the game. Keeley was at the controls at the Browning 12-yard line, stepped back to pass and hit Doherty on a short slant. Doherty reached the ball toward the end zone, was a little short and muscled against defenders before being able to stretch his arms, ball in hand, into the end zone before being tackled. 

“We practiced and played with a lot of high emotion,” Gelling, who set up a touchdonw with a fumble recovery, said.  

“This was a great bounce-back,” coach Peoples said. “We really pushed the kids hard and challenged them to get better this week. I think we accomplished that.” 

Butte Central honored the now-closed St. Ann’s Catholic Grade School, before the game and the Maroons were to wear gold jerseys commemorating the night and the St. Ann’s history. However, Peoples said, the jerseys were lost in shipping, but likely to be worn later on another big-game occasion. 

The uniforms the team wore Friday fit just fine for the venture, a successful one. 

“Our offense can’t be one-dimensional,” Peoples said. “Our running game got going early and that was with our No. 1 running back, Konnor Pochervina, not able to play. Then, Jack threw the ball well and a lot of receivers made catches. The defense did a good job, but gave up a touchdown drive when we let down a little bit. We’ll get better on that.” 

Both teams just missed touchdowns when receivers hauled in passes, but with one foot in the end zone and one out, bringing incomplete rulings for both. Butte Central also had a potential scoring pass picked off in the end zone by Emmett Carlson, who almost broke the return for a TD going the other way. 

A rash of injuries and penalties occurred in the second half as heat and fatigue mixed into the elements. Temperatures were in the 80s through the game, attended by a larger-than-usual crowd. Of most concern, health-wise, was a second-half leg injury to junior center Canyon Kibler. He had to be helped from the field and the BC staff did not know late Friday the seriousness of the injury. 

Holter filled in admirably for Pochervina on offense while junior Bryce Keane drew kudos from coach Peoples for his performance subbing for Pochervina at linebacker on defense. 

“Everybody who suited up for us tonight got into the game,,” noted Peoples, referring to Butte Central subs playing much of the second half. “That is always fun. Some of those freshmen really had big eyes going onto the field.” 

The Maroons will take their first road trip of the year next week, traveling to Whitefish for a Friday night tilt. 

“We’ll be going into hostile territory,” Peoples said. “Whitefish is always a good program. Our kids took a step forward, but still have many more steps to take.” 

Browning 0 6 6 0 – 12

Butte Central 27 14 3 7 – 51 

First Quarter 

BC – Rye Doherty 12 pass from Jack Keeley (Ethan Andersch kick), 8:48. Drive – 67 yards in 8 plays. Key play – Eric Loos 5-yard pass from Keeley to Browning 18-yard line. 

BC – Dougie Peoples 5 pass from Keeley (Andersch kick), 7:51. Drive – 13 yards in 2 plays. Key play – Zane Moodry recovered Browning fumble at Browning 13-yard line. 

BC – Kyle Holter 29 run (Andersch kick), 6:34. Drive – 34 yards in 3 plays. Key play – Zane Moodry recovery of Browning fumble at Browning 34-yard line. 

BC – Eric Loos 13 pass from Keeley (Kick failed), 2:50. Drive – 45 yards in 4 plays. Key play – Holter 20-yard run to Browning 25-yard line. 

Second Quarter 

BC – Peoples 73 pass from Keeley (Andersch kick), 9:12. Drive – 91 yards in 3 plays. Key play – Scoring play. 

BRO – Tahj Wells 33 run (run failed), 8:07. Drive – 51 yards in 3 plays. Key play – Scoring play. 

BC – Holter 6 run (Andersch kick) 3:06. Drive – 29 yards in 4 plays. Key play – Riley Gelling recovery of Browning fumble at Browning 29-yard line. 

Third Quarter 

BRO – Tommy Running Rabbit 3 run (kick failed), 4:03. Drive – 5 yards in 3 plays. Key play – Sam Gordon recovery of Butte Central fumble at Butte Central 5-yard line. 

BC – FG Andersch 40, 1:55. Drive – 61 yards in 5 plays. Key – Browning 45 yards in penalties on Butte Central scoring drive. 

Fourth Quarter 

BC – Zane Moodry 38 pass from Keeley (Andersch kick), 9:47. Drive – 61 yards in 4 plays. Key play – Scoring play. 


Bro BC 

First downs 9 20 

Rushes-yards 30-94 24-151 

Passes 8-18-0 10-20-1 

Passing yards 57 191 

Total offense 151 342 

Return yards 52 14 

Punts-avg. 4-37.5 0-0 

Fumbles-lost 10-3 3-2 

Penalties-yards 18-162 6-50 


Individual Statistics 

RUSHING – Browning, Maurice Redhorn III 4-71, Tahj Wells 10-64, Payton Grant 4-(-1), Tommy Running Rabbit 11-(-18), Team 1-(-22). Butte Central, Kyle Holter 14-154, Jack Keeley 6-19, Justus McGee 2-(-2), Team 1-(-9), Ryan Peoples 1-(-11). 

PASSING – Browning, Grant 8-18-0-157. Butte Central, Keeley 10-20-1-191. 

RECEIVING – Browning, Wells 2-26, Running Rabbit 4-19, Jamerson Lazy Boy 1-7, Redhorn 1-5. Butte Central, Dougie Peoples 2-78, Zane Moodry 3-55, Eric Loos 3-26, Holter 1-20, Rye Doherty 1-12. 

TURNOVERS: Pass interceptions – Browning 1 (Emmett Carlson), Butte Central 0; Fumble recoveries – Browning 2 (Sam Gordon 2), Butte Central 3 (Moodry 2, Riley Gelling 1).




#12 Dougie Peoples fights for the ball in the end zone


#3 Rye Doherty pushes in for a touchdown


#88 Eric Loos in pursuit of runner


Quarterback #2 Jack Keeley runs past the defender


#10 Bryce Keane out runs large O-line


#15 Ethan Andersch with the PAT