Pirates plank turnover-troubled Maroons

By Bruce Sayler

Polson didn’t need the help. However, Butte Central head coach Don Peoples Jr. said he felt his Maroons gave the Pirates plenty.
Polson capitalized on turnovers and other miscues as the Pirates beat BC 42-20 Friday night in a Western A Conference high school football game at Bob Green Field on the Montana Tech campus.
Sophomore quarterback Holden Emerson ran for four of Polson’s six touchdowns and passed to Tommy Sherry for another. The last TD was scored on a 41-pass interception return by Cody Haggard.
“We beat ourselves,” Peoples said after Butte Central fell to 0-3 to start its season. “Polson is a good team, but this was a game we beat ourselves. We turned it over, we had two or three scoring opportunities (should have converted), a blocked punt and a bad snap – in the first half.”
The Maroons possessed the ball, it would seem, enough in the game to put up more points. They rolled up 313 yards in total offense as senior quarterback Jack Keeley ran for 93 yards and passed for 199. He scored all three BC touchdowns.
The Pirates, though, had the blocked punt by Kyrin Doty, two fumble recoveries by Astin Brown – one of which was an outright steal – another recovery by Ezra Fasthouse on what was a bad snap, and the Haggard interception. Also, Emerson rushed for 153 yards. He passed for 15 and Polson had 354 yards in total offense.
“In the second half,” Peoples said, “we beat ourselves with a 15-yard penalty in the red zone.
“We have to find a way to get better. We had four demanding practice days this week and I thought we were better. We have to get better.”
Legends were in the crowd. Members of the state Class A champion Butte Central football teams of 1971, 1972 and 1973 were honored before the game and, those in attendance, were introduced at halftime.
This year’s varsity was depleted some in the secondary with starters Jake Tauscher and Keefer McGree out of the lineup and Jack Nagle also on the sideline. Peoples said Tauscher has a shoulder injury while McGree’s absence is expected to be longer with a concussion and neck injury.
“We have good kids,” Peoples said. “We have a lot of football left to be played and we feel we can compete in every game on our schedule.
“We had some young kids in the secondary and we had a lot of our younger kids play tonight.”
Junior Devin Rossiter and sophomore Tony Stajcar got their first varsity starts as they played in the defensive backfield. Senior lineman Canyon Kibler returned to home action after nearly a year’s absence due to ACL surgery. However, he was playing sick.
The Maroons drove to the Polson 18-yard line on their first possession, but a holding penalty and a fourth-down sack of Keeley by Austin Oberwegner and Lincoln Burrough stopped them. BC forced Polson into a three-and-out, then gave up the ball on fourth down when Zane Moodry’s punt was blocked by Doty. The Pirates took over at their own 44-yard line. However, they lost the ball on a fumble recovered by Bryce Keane on the Butte Central 8-yard line.
Moodry ended the Maroons’ possession with a 37-yard punt, which Cason Graham ran back 30 yards to set Polson up in favorable position. Emerson reached the end zone on two keepers, Lucien Sawyer kicked the extra point and the Pirates led 7-0 after the first quarter.
Emerson turned two more BC errors into Polson TDs in the second quarter for a 20-0 command. Fasthorse’s recovery of a bad snap came at the 14-yard line after a previous Maroon drive died at the Pirates’ 24-yard line on a fumble Brown pulled in under the pile.
BC got possession near midfield on a Polson fumble and used eight plays to get to the end zone, Keeley slashing into the end zone from 4 yards away. A Graham interception during the Butte Central drive was canceled by a roughing penalty.
Barely a minute remained in the half, but it was certainly enough for Emerson to find Tommy Sherry for a 50-yard TD pass play and the Pirates were ahead by 28-6 as they left the field at halftime.
Defenses ruled the third quarter and nobody scored.
Keeley lighted a Maroon flicker by guiding an 80-yard, 15-play scoring march on the first series of the second half. Emerson responded with a 10-play drive and finished it off with a gallop the last 12 yards. Then, two plays after the kickoff, Haggard got his pick-six and Polson’s lead was 42-12 with 3 minutes, 51 seconds left in the game.
Keeley’s eighth and ninth completions to Moodry carried BC to the Pirates’ 3-yard line and Keeley busted into the end zone for the last touchdown of the night. Not quite a minute remained on the clock.
Butte Central will celebrate homecoming next week, capping the festivities with a football game against Corvallis at 7 p.m. Friday on the Bob Green Field carpet.
“We have to keep playing and trying,” Peoples said, “and we have to fight hard.”

Polson 7 21 0 14 – 42
Butte Central 0 6 0 14 – 20
First Quarter
POL – Holden Emerson 6 run (Lucien Sawyer kick), 2:57. Drive – 17 yards in 2 plays. Key play – Cason Graham 30-yard punt return to Butte Central 17.
Second Quarter
POL – Emerson 11 run (Sawyer kick), 7:13. Drive – 76 yards in 10 plays. Key play – Astin Brown recovers Butte Centra fumble at Polson 24-yard line.
POL – Emerson 7 run (kick blocked), 6:13. Drive – 14 yards in 2 plays. Key play – Ezra Fasthorse recovers Butte Central bad snap on Butte Central 14-yard line.
BC – Jack Keeley 4 run (kick failed), 1:32. Drive – 54 yards in 8 plays. Key play – Canyon Kibler recovers Polson fumble at Butte Central 46-yard line.
POL – Tommy Sherry 50 pass from Emerson (Emerson run), 1:01. Drive – 59 yards in 2 plays. Key play – Scoring play.
Third Quarter
No scoring.
Fourth Quarter
BC – Keeley 1 run (run failed), 9:40. Drive – 80 yards in 15 plays. Key play – Justus McGee 17-yard pass from Keeley to Polson 1-yard line.
POL – Emerson 12 run (Sawyer kick), 4:40. Drive – 66 yards in 10 plays. Key play – Cason Graham 9-yard pass from Emerson to Butte Central 10-yard line on 3rd-and-8.
POL – Cody Haggard 41 pass interception return (Sawyer kick), 3:51. Drive – none. Key play – Scoring play.
BC – Keeley 3 run (Ryan Peoples pass from Keeley), :52. Drive – 63 yards in 9 plays. Key play – Keeley consecutive passes of 12 and 9 yards to Zane Moodry to the Polson 3-yard line.

Pol BC
First downs 19 23
Rushes-yards 40-207 39-114
Passes 6-18-2 24-35-1
Passing yards 147 199
Total offense 354 313
Return yards 90 17
Punts-avg. 2-43.5 x-5-30.0
Fumbles-lost 3-2 5-3
Penalties-yards 7-70 6-69
X – includes blocked punt.
Individual Statistics
RUSHING – Polson, Holden Emerson 26-153, Uriah Ulutola 9-47, Brock Henriksen 1-7, Daniel O’Roarke 2-2, Team 2-(-2). Butte Central, Jack Keeley 24-93, Justus McGee 14-43, Team 1-(-22).
PASSING – Polson, Emerson 26-153-2-156. Butte Central, Keeley 24-35-1-199.
RECEIVING – Polson, Tommy Sherry 3-105, Cason Graham 2-27, Ulutola 1-15. Butte Central, Zane Moodry 9-55, McGee 6-70, Ryan Peoples 5-42, Aiden Ossello 2-18, Colt Hassler 1-7, Kelten Keane 1-7.
TURNOVERS – Pass interceptions: Polson 1 (Cody Haggard), Butte Central 2 (McGee, Keeley). Fumble recoveries: Polson 3 (Astin Brown 2, Ezra Fasthorse), Butte Central 2 (Bryce Keane, Canyon Kibler).