By Bruce Sayler
Dillon was just too good Friday night for Butte Central to challenge very long.
The undefeated, top-ranked-in-Class A Beavers tossed aside a slow start, revved their motors in the second quarter and went on to beat Butte Central 43-6 in a Western A Conference high school football game at Bob Green Field on the Montana Tech campus.
Senior quarterback Kee Christiansen, a third-year starter, threw three touchdowns and ran for another to lead Dillon’s well-balanced and efficient offense. The Beavers bit off big chunks of yardage in their possessions to build their big leads, including a 36-0 cushion before the Maroons got on the board with a 5-yard Jack Keeley quarterback keeper.
Still, Butte Central competed. The Maroons played well at times, but the inexperience of their young team showed. Experience built will be welcomed to future endeavors.
“I felt like we did a lot of positive things,” BC head coach Don Peoples Jr. said. “Dillon is a great team. We would have four or five positive plays and then one breakdown. It was by a different guy each time. That’s our inexperience.
“But, Dillon is a great team. Their team speed is at another level. They have a quarterback playing great. I liked our effort tonight and the things we did well. I thought we ran the ball well.”
As good as the Beavers performed on offense, Peoples reminded that the Dillon defense remained as good as always for what has been one of the top Class A programs the last few decades.
“With their 34 defense, they have the ability to bring seven (on the pass rush),” Peoples said, “and they can drop eight (into pass coverage). That’s a tough defense to try to contend with.”
Christiansen hit receiver Max Davis twice for touchdowns, one pass covering 37 yards and the other going for 30. He also hooked up with Keyen Nash on a 38-yard TD connection and took off on a 20-yard dash to score one himself.
Kale Konen ran for 142 yards, including a 3-yard plunge into the end zone that began the night’s scoring. The touchdown capped a Konen-driven drive in which he ran for 24 and 40 yards on Dillon’s first two snaps of the night. Senior David Schmidlin scored the night’s last touchdown on a fourth-down 20-yard burst.
Keeley tallied Butte Central’s only touchdown and was one of the senior team members to be celebrated at halftime for Senior Parents Night, marking the Maroons’ last home game of the season. Keeley, Zane Moodry, Bryce Keane, Jake Tauscher, Greysen Gillis, Canyon Kibler and Tanner Keith and their families were recognized before the crowd as BC’s seniors on the team.
After Dillon scored its quick TD, the Beavers were stymied the rest of the quarter as the defenses shared the focus. Butte Central suffered a dropped pass behind the Dillon secondary and lost another first-quarter scoring opportunity on a fourth-down sack at the Beavers’ 39.
Christiansen didn’t throw a pass until the first play of the second quarter and it went for a 37-yard touchdown in the hands of Davis. BC’s Michael Peck blocked the extra point, but Dillon owned a 13-0 advantage.
The Maroons ran out of downs at Dillon’s 46-yard line and Dillon launched a scoring drie that ended with Christiansen’s sprint to the end zone. The kick on the extra point missed to the right. The Beavers were ahead 19-0 and tacked on one more TD before halftime, the 38-yard Christian pass play to Nash.
Dillon had the first possession of the second half and cashed it in on the 30-yard scoring pass from Christiansen to Davis. It was the third play from scrimmage of the half and followed carries of 5 and 14 yards by Konen.
The Dillon defense forced a BC three-and-out from deep in Maroon territory and the Beavers picked up two first downs on a 48-yard march after the punt. Sawyer Tackett’s line-drive kick from 31 yards away split the uprights and Dillon had a 36-0 lead with 3 minutes 24 seconds left in the third quarter.
The 35-point rule kicked in, continuous clock.
However, Butte Central fought it off. Keeley linked with Moodry on aerials of 37 and 21 yards as the Maroons traveled to the Beavers’ 5-yard line. Keeley crashed into the end zone on the period’s last play. Moodry finished the night with five catches for 103 yards.
Dillon had a 36-7 lead to start the last quarter and the gameclock had returned to normal timekeep. With 5 minutes to go in the game, though, the Beavers scored on Schmidlin’s 20-yard run and the running clock was re-invoked.
Peoples peeked ahead a little bit after the game, noting that several sophomores saw game time this season for BC, which still has a contest left on the schedule.
“Our young guys got some experience and our JV is doing good things,” the coach of 35 years at the Butte Central helm said. “We played five seniors tonight and they weren’t all two-way starters. So, we should have experience back next year.
“We have to change our weight-room culture and get stronger. I think our kids saw first-hand this season the physicality of the other teams and what the weight-room does for you. We’ll be parked in the weight room for next year.”
The BC team will finish its season next Friday with a 7 p.m. game at Frenchtown.
Dillon 7 19 10 7 – 43
Butte Central 0 0 7 0 — 7
DIL – Kale Konen 3 run (Sawyer Tackett kick), 8:30. Drive – 67 yards in 3 plays. Key play – Konen 40-yard run to Butte Central 3-yard line.
DIL – Max Davis 37 pass from Kee Christiansen (kick blocked), 11:52. Drive – 58 yards in 3 plays. Key play – Scoring play.
DIL – Christiansen 10 run (kick failed), 5:02. Drive – 53 yards in 6 plays. Key play – Konen 19-yard run to Butte Central 34-yard line.
DIL – Keyen Nash 38 pass from Christiansen (Tackett kick), :59. Drive – 41 yards in 3 plays. Key play – scoring play.
DIL – Davis 30 pass from Christiansen (Tackett kick), 10:39. Drive – 49 yards in 3 plays. Key play – Short Butte Central onside kick gives Dillon possession at Butte Central 49-yard line.
DIL – FG Tackett 31, 3:24. Drive – 48 yards in 9 plays. Key play – Davis 16-yard pass from Christiansen to Butte Central 26-yard line.
BC – Jack Keeley 5 run (Jack Nagle kick), :16. Drive – 67 yards on 4 plays. Key play – Zane Moodry 37-yard pass from Keeley to Dillon 30-yard line.
DIL – David Schmidlin 20 run (Tackett kick), 5:03. Drive – 63 yards in 8 plays. Key play – Scoring play on 4th-and-4.
First downs 14 10
Rushes-yards 25-251 33-78
Passes 6-11-0 9-18-0
Passing yards 131 128
Total offense 382 206
Return yards 65 0
Punts-avg. 0-0 4-36.5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-0
Penalties-yards 1-10 3-30
RUSHING – Dillon, Kale Konen 12-142, David Schmidlin 3-46, Jmey Mataafa 9-43, Kee Christiansen 1-20. Butte Central, Jack Keeley 21-44, Justus McGee 10-31, Zane Moodry 2-3.
PASSING – Dillon, Christiansen 6-11-0-131. Butte Central, Keeley 9-18-0-78.
RECEIVING – Dillon, Max Davis 5-93, Keyen Nash 1-38. Butte Central, Zane Moodry 5-103, McGee 4-25.
Turnovers: Pass Interceptions – none. Fumble recoveries – Dillon none, Butte Central 1 (Tanner Keith).