STEVENSVILLE — Senior running back Kellan Beller ran for four touchdowns and more than 100 yards as Stevensville rallied for a 34-21 Western A Conference high school football win over Butte Central Friday night.
The game ended the season for both teams.
Beller, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound college football prospect, scored on carries of 31, 11, 10 and 4 yards.
“We tackled him well in the first half, but we struggled tackling him in the second,” Butte Central head coach Don Peoples Jr. said in a phone call to buttesports.com after the game. “We got to him in the backfield in the first half. Then, in the second, they put him in trap plays and he started running downhill and he’s such a load, we couldn’t stop him.”
The Yellowjackets’ only other scores were field goals by Cole Olson measuring 30 and 25 yards.
Butte Central had leads of 7-3 and 21-13 after the first quarter and at halftime before the Yellowjackets caught up with the Maroons in the third quarter.
The first score of the game was Olson’s 30-yard field goal that followed a BC defensive stand deep in its own territory. Benjamin Gurney returned the opening kickoff to Butte Central 15-yard line where Garrett Button made a touchdown-saving tackle after Gurney was slowed by Maroons kicker Ethan Andersch.
Stevi fumbled on it two downs in its first series but kept possession. So, on fourth-and-seven, Olson was called upon to kick the three-pointer.
BC responded with a quick drive down the field after the Stevensville kickoff. Kyle Holter hooked up with Eric Loos on a 50-yard pass play that took Butte Central to the Yellowjackets’ 35-yard line. Senior Konnor Pochervina, playing for the first time since being injured in the Maroons’ first game, broke open up the middle for a 35-yard TD sprint. Andersch kicked the extra point and BC had a 7-3 lead.
Butte Central was knocking at the Stevi door again when the first quarter ended. So, on the first play of the second period, Holter ran it in from 5 yards out on a quarterback keeper and, with the PAT, the Maroons expanded their advantage to 14-3.
Olson booted his 30-yard field goal before BC tallied for the last time. The touchdown was a 45-yard breakaway by Holter that saw him cross the field twice before being able to turn downfield and dash to the end zone. The Butte Central margin was 21-6 with 5 minutes, 15 seconds left in the half.
Beller finally started to muscle out of Maroons’ grasps late in the half and got loose for a 31-yard TD run with 2:26 to go in the second quarter.
The half ended with BC holding a 21-13 lead.
It evaporated fast after intermission. The Yellowjackets took the second-half kickoff and launched a scoring march. Beller capped it with an 11-yard touchdown carry. Stevi completed a two-point conversion pass and the teams were knotted at 21-all three minutes into the third frame.
Both defenses then bucked off and melted time off the rest of the quarter without giving up any more points.
Stevensville and Beller had other ideas for the fourth quarter. Beller’s 10-yard TD carry happened early in the period and his 4-yard touchdown romp came late in the game, assuring the Yellowjackets of the win.
“We started out the game well,” said Peoples, finishing his 34th year as the team’s head coach. “I really admire Konnor Pochervina for doing everything he could to be out there tonight. His no-quit attitude showed in him getting out there tonight. He played the first half, but his hips were sore again in the second and he didn’t play much.
“I also have to mention Kyle Holter for stepping in and playing quarterback. Kyle was a warrior the last five games for stepping into the quarterback spot. The rainy conditions, tonight, I think, made it very difficult for our passing game, difficult for him to throw the ball.”
With injuries this season to Pochervina and junior quarterback Jack Keeley, Holter filled in at both spots, leaving his job as starting wide receiver to do so on offense.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Peoples said. “I don’t know if we’ve had a season with so much adversity. We had the injuries and we had a breakout of sickness just before the Corvallis game. I really want to commend the kids for going to work, practicing hard and giving us their great effort. I think, tonight, with the way Konnor was carrying the ball in the first half, I think we got a glimpse of what this team could’ve been.”
With Keeley and Pochervina out of the lineup so much of the year, it meant the Maroons were playing without their quarterback, top running back and top receiver because they had to move Holter from receiver to see time in the other spots. Keeley and Holter were also cornerbacks on defense, and Pochervina was a linebacker. Center/defensive lineman Canyon Kibler and receiver-safety Dougie Peoples also had their season ended early by injuries.
“It was not the ending to our season that we wanted it to be,” coach Peoples said.
Butte Central finished at 1-7 overall, 0-5 in the Southwestern A Conference. Stevensville went 2-7 and 1-5.
Butte Central 7 14 0 0 – 21
Stevensville 3 10 8 13 – 34
STEVI – FG Cole Olson 30, 9:45.
BC – Konnor Pochervina 35 run (Ethan Andersch kick), 5:21.
BC – Kyle Holter 5 run (Andersch kick), 11:53.
STEVI – FG Olson 25.
BC – Holter 45 run (Andersch kick), 5:15.
STEVI – Kellan Beller 31 run (Olson kick), 2:26.
STEVI – Beller 11 run (Hunter Gunn pass from Gracen Trevino), 9:09.
STEVI – Beller 10 run (Olson kick), 11:54.
STEVI – Beller 4 run (kick failed).
— Article compiled by Bruce Sayler for buttesports.com