Sentinel comes to town for Silver B’s Night

Coming off a dramatic 24-21 double-overtime win over Billings Skyview a week ago, Butte High’s Bulldogs aim to make it two in a row Friday night at Naranche Stadium when they host Missoula Sentinel at 7 p.m.

Honorary guests at the game will be Silver and Golden B’s, former players who lettered in football for Butte High 25 and 50 years ago. Also, one of the few Diamond B’s will be honored Friday, as George Paul will be feted for lettering for the ‘Dogs 75 years ago. Paul, unfortunately, died on Aug. 11.

“Silver B’s night is always extra special for us,” said Butte High head coach Arie Grey, one of the few non-Silver B’s allowed to attend the dinners. “It’s always good to see those guys, and I’ll be excited to see a lot of the core players from the 1991 championship team there.”

The Bulldog grid alumni will sit front and center as the 2015 crew takes on Sentinel, a team that dropped an opening-night contest to a tough Billings Senior team 40-3.

Butte can’t afford to take any team lightly, especially following the loss of senior quarterback Dylan Cook last week to a broken collarbone suffered in the first quarter of the win over Skyview. Cook suffered a hard landing after rushing forward for a 25-yard gain. No timeline has been set for a possible return of the senior captain.

In his stead, backup Ty Peterson is leading the Bulldog offense, and after a rough start last Friday, the sophomore came on strong and helped lead Butte to the win.

“Ty stepped in and did a great job for us,” Grey said. “He settled down and finished the game well. He’s gotten a lot more preparation this week and he’ll be ready to play. Ty has gotten better every day and he’s comfortable out there.”

Grey said his entire team will need to step up – coaches included.

“I’m proud of how we responded to adversity last week, but we’re not satisfied with where we are,” he said. “We need to keep improving and be ready to be playing our best football at the end of the year.”

The Bulldogs got a huge performance from their defense last Friday, as the Bulldog defenders kept the team in the game, first with a defensive touchdown – a fumble recovery in the end-zone by Anthony Cooney – and followed up by big stop after big stop.

“It was disheartening to give up a couple of big plays,” Grey said. “But we only gave up seven plays that went for more than 10 yards, while we had 10. I’m awfully proud of the defense, and they were out there a lot, but they kept plugging away. That’s a bunch of guys who play with their heart on their sleeve, and they’re going to create some havoc, but I think Butte guys have a ton of heart.”

The Bulldogs got a nice showing from senior linebacker Justin Peterson in the win over Skyview.

“Justin was phenomenal,” Grey said. “We knew he was going to be good, but he was really in on a lot of plays. He stayed very even and graded out well. Quinn Dennehy played really well too, but he’s another guy we expect that from.”

Grey lauded the play of the offensive line, especially that of captain Riley Vaughn and of tackle Cody Baszler.

“The offensive line played really well,” he said. “Other than a few bad snaps, we didn’t have any negative-yardage running plays. That’s huge, and they’ve progressed by leaps and bounds.”

Grey noted the improvement of sophomore kicker Nathaniel Ferguson, who not only booted the game-winning field goal in the second overtime period, but also took over punting duties following Cook’s departure.

“That was a pretty pressure packed first game for him,” Grey observed. “But I think special teams will be huge for us this week.”

Grey said that Sentinel runs a similar offense to Butte, which helps with preparation, but he’s wary of the Spartans after the tough loss.

“They bring back a lot of kids,” Grey noted. “They have one of the best centers in the state and a bruiser of a running back. Their quarterback is athletic and can make plays with his feet.”

Butte needs to continue improving its run game, Grey said, and senior Mason Ruppel has made big strides in that arena. The Bulldogs also need to eliminate repeated three-and-out series, as well as improve discipline and eliminate penalties.

“We need to take care of the ball and work on giving them a long field,” Grey concluded.

“We came back to work last Saturday and we’re excited to get back out there.”

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