The short week had to feel pretty long for the Butte Central football team.
The Maroons had a performance to forget Saturday night at Bulldog Memorial Stadium, falling 52-6 to the No. 1-ranked Billings Central Rams.
“We had really dedicated week of practice,” Butte Central coach Don Peoples Jr. said. “The kids are anxious to get back some of that confidence we had the week before.”
The schedule doesn’t get much easier — if any easier at all — Friday when the Maroons head to Laurel (3-0) to take on the No. 3 Locomotives in a 7 p.m. game. (KOPR, 94.1 FM. Click here to listen online.)
The game is the final for non-conference contest for the Maroons (1-2), who open Southwestern A play at home next week against Anaconda.
The Locomotives, coached by former Butte Central assistant Mike Ludwig, have rolled through their first three games. Laurel beat Cody, Wyo., 35-0 before routing Lewistown 51-13. Last week, the Locomotives went to Belgrade and rolled the Panthers 35-7.
“He’s really building a program over there,” Peoples said of Ludwig. “It’s a growing school, too. They’re really talented, and they’re very well coached.”
The Maroons opened the season with a disappointing 33-20 home loss to Belgrade before hitting the road to crush Havre 61-19.
Laurel beat Butte Central 48-7 last September in Butte. In that game, Brett Thompson came in for injured Dylan Kramer and helped the Locomotives pull away with a pair of touchdown runs.
“He played really well against us last year,” Peoples said.
Last week, Thompson directed a Laurel offense that saw four different players score touchdowns. Thompson ran for a 25-yard TD before hitting Jake Anderson for a 15-yard score. Kameron Fisher and Bryce Herman also scored for the Locomotives, who run an option-based offense similar to the one Peoples and the Maroons used to use.
“They don’t throw the ball very often, but when they do they are efficient,” Peoples said.
The Maroons now run a spread offense, which is led by senior quarterback Brady Tippett. The quarterback has been effective with his arm and his feet.
BC will be facing Laurel’s new 3-4 defense. The Locomotives recently made the switch from a 4-3.
Tippett’s weapons include Kale Guldseth, Chad Petsrson, Dalton Sessions, Northy Tretheway and tight end Connor McGree.
Joe Joyce and Wyatt Kingston are potential game-breaking running back behind a starting offensive line of Frank Joyce, Kolten Lamiaux, Liam Doran, Connor Schulte and Marcus Ferriter.
Peoples said Brant Ahlborn, the regular starter at right guard, might be available to play off the bench. Ahlborn missed last week after suffering a concussion.
“We’re going to be cautious with him,” People said.
The BC defense charged with slowing down Laurel’s high-powered running game will see Frank Joyce, Schulte, Ferriter and McGree up front. Kaemen Richards is the middle linebacker surrounded by Ben Holt and Kingston.
Joe Joyce, Tippett, Guldesth and Tretheway make up BC’s athletic secondary.
Despite last week’s lopsided loss, Peoples said his team hits the road expecting to come home with a victory.
“I think our kids believe they can compete with Laurel,” the coach said.
Butte Central Maroons
Don Peoples Jr. (24th season)
QB — Brady Tippett, 5-11, 180, sr
RB — Joe Joyce, 5-10, 170, sr; Wyatt Kingston, 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 — Frank Joyce, 5-10, 220, sr
G —Kolten Lamiaux, 6-1, 260, sr; Liam Doran, 5-11, 195, so
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, Kingston
FS — Tippett
SS — Joe Joyce
C — Guldseth; Tretheway