For many years, we have known that Butte High and Butte Central would each have an outstanding senior class of athletes for the 2019-20 school year.
Those seniors, who are now graduates, have proven us correct by giving us four years of memorable performances that spanned the fall, winter and spring.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, prevented the members of the Class of 2020 from ending their high school careers in the celebrated style that they deserve.
So, Butte Sports has teamed up with KBOW and KOPR to salute our 2020 seniors.
This week, we shine the spotlight on Konor McClafferty of Butte High and Zoe and Makala Doherty of Butte Central.
Butte High: Konor McClafferty
The Butte High offensive line was the unsung key to the Bulldogs’ run to the Class AA state championship game last fall, and no lineman was better than McClafferty.
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound left tackle protected Tommy Mellott’s blind side and helped pave the way for the Moreno brothers’ touchdown runs. He was a leader of an offense that racked up 527 points and more than 6,000 yards in 12 games.
McClafferty earned first-team All-State honors on the line, and he was selected at that position to play in the Montana East-West Shrine Game, which was canceled because of the coronavirus.
While he was also a force on the defensive line, McClafferty plans to play on the offensive side of the ball when he suits up for Montana Tech. He signed to play football for the Orediggers in January.
McClafferty, who did not turn 18 until March, figures to be a whole lot bigger by the time he is a senior at Tech. That could be very bad news for the rest of the Frontier Conference.
McClafferty also figured to compete for a medal in the throwing events at the state track meet this fall before the spring season was called off.
Butte Central: Zoe and Makala Doherty
The Doherty cousins were major contributors on the Butte Central softball team from the time they stepped foot in the school.
Makala Doherty, aka “Johnny,” played first base and pitched for the Maroons. She was expecting a big senior season in the pitcher’s circle. Makala was a force at the net for the Butte Central volleyball team, and she was the self-proclaimed leader of the BC student section during the boys’ basketball team’s run to the state title.
Zoe Doherty played a solid second base, and she was a prototypical No. 2 hitter in the Butte Central lineup. She earned an all-conference honorable mention as a junior and was looking forward to leading the Maroons back to the state tournament as a senior.
Zoe played basketball as an underclassman for the Maroons, but she was solely focused on softball by the time she was a senior. That means the coronavirus complete wiped out her senior sports season.
Makala plans to major in nursing at Montana State, while Zoe will head to Montana Tech to major in biology. Zoe also plans to attend dental school.