West overcomes Bulldogs’ fast start

The advantage of the new digs only lasted so long.

Butte High’s boys’ soccer team jumped out to a 1-0 lead in their first-ever game at Bulldog Memorial Stadium Saturday.

The Golden Bears of Billings West, tough, battled back with four goals to hand the Bulldogs a 4-1 Eastern AA loss.

Butte High senior defender Jack Staples got the day started right for the Bulldogs, scoring on a penalty kick on the game’s eighth minute.

“The kids started out fast and got an opportunity to score on a PK,” Butte High coach Eric Zahler said. “We got taken down in the box, and Staples finished it. It was nice.”

West’s Jeff Wilson put the Bears on top for good with goals at the 15th minute and the 17th minute.

The Bears (5-2-1) secured the win with second-half goals by Koby Reyes and Donovan Luce.

Zahler, though, said he was happy with the way his team played.

With the exception of Jake Howery, who is out for the year with an injury, the banged up Bulldogs were back to full strength.

Bulldog Cullen Sehulster played the game with a big cast on his arm because he was playing a couple weeks following surgery on a broken wrist.

“We’re as full strength as were going to be, and an now it’s finding a rotation that’s going to help us be successful,” Zahler said. “I think we saw part of it at the end of the game.”

The Bulldogs moved Jonathan Sholey from defense to offense in the second half, and the Bulldogs went on the attack.

Butte High got off 15 shots on goal, compared to West’s 16.

“We moved (Sholey) up top the last 15 minutes, and what did we have seven or eight opportunities in the last eight minutes?,” Zahler said. “We had some great opportunities at the end of the game, but it didn’t happen.”

Zahler praised the play of midfielders Noah Loomis and Sehulster and goal keeper Noah Johnston.

“Noah played well,” Zahler said of the goalkeeper, Johnston. “He was very aggressive and got unlucky a couple of times.”

The Bulldogs (1-4-1) are back in action Thursday when they play at Great Falls High.

Butte High will return to play at Bulldog Memorial Stadium — this time under the lights — Oct. 2 when they play Billings Senior.

That match was postponed because of smoke last week.

Butte High’s Cullen Sehulster goes in for a steal against Billings West’s Curry Owen in the second half.