KALISPELL – The first-round Class AA football playoff game between Butte and Kalispell Glacier was expected to be a shootout, and the teams didn’t disappoint.
The second-seeded Wolfpack got a couple more plays at the end and advanced to the semifinals with a wild 62-55 nod over the defending State Champions.
Dallas Cook put an exclamation point at the end of his career as Butte High’s quarterback, running for six touchdowns and throwing for another – a 70-yarder to Dalton Daum – in the loss. The only touchdown Cook didn’t have a hand in was a 65-yard run by Tyler Earles.
Glacier got a big effort from junior running back/defensive back Logan Jones, who scored three touchdowns on offense and another on defense via a pick-six that gave the Wolfpack their final points of the game with 2:12 to play.
Trailing by 14 points, Cook scored his sixth rushing touchdown from a yard out with 66 seconds left to play. Though Glacier recovered Butte’s onside kick attempt, the game wasn’t in hand until a facemask penalty gave a final first down to the Wolfpack, who ran out the clock in the victory formation.
“If there’s one thing I can say about this team, there’s no quit in them,” Butte head coach Arie Grey said following an emotional post-game meeting in the visitors’ locker room. “They did everything they were supposed to do. But hats off to Glacier; they’re tough.”
Wolfpack head coach Grady Bennett expressed pride in his team, but marveled at the physical challenge they had just undergone.
“We’ve never been this healthy at this point in the season,” Bennett said. “But then we lost a couple of guys in the first quarter. Then we had three other guys get dinged up. We had to scramble just to get a hands team out for the onside kick. We had four sophomores up front.”
Cook was one of the main reasons for the pain felt on the Glacier sideline. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder ignored his injured left foot and rushed 29 times for 149 yards, punishing defender after defender that tried to get in his way.
“Dallas battled tonight,” Grey observed. “He really put the team on his shoulders.”
Glacier got in the scoring column first, though the Bulldog defense held the Pack to field goals in their first two possessions. Butte punted away its first two chances on offense, but struck quickly on the third when Earles broke around the right end and outsprinted the Glacier defense on his 65-yard trip to paydirt. Sean Staples’ only PAT kick miss in eight attempts Friday left the score knotted, 6-6.
Glacier never trailed in the game, but the hosts never led by more than 14 points either. Butte tied the game at 13 when they set up Cook’s 1-yard plunge with a fourth-and-1 play-action pass from Cook to Cory Farstveet, who gained 43 yards on the play.
That was the first of five touchdowns to be recorded in the next 129 seconds. Jones took a short reception 50 yards for Glacier, which got the ball back when Butte muffed the kickoff return. Glacier quickly scored on the short field and led 27-13, but Cook found Daum open on a 70-yard passing TD seconds later. Brady McChesney passed to Evan Epperly for the battery’s second straight touchdown – a 64-yarder – just 53 seconds later.
Butte High got in the last points before half when Cook ran in from 5 yards out, but Bulldog defensive back Boomer Peters got the last lick in before intermission, laying the pads to a Glacier receiver and forcing an incompletion.
Despite the final score, Butte’s defense played well, collecting a trio of sacks as well as forcing the Wolfpack to give the ball back on downs.
“Our defense had a couple of setbacks, but they played well tonight,” Grey said.
The Bulldog defenders forced a punt on Glacier’s opening drive of the second half and Cook paced an 84-yard scoring drive with five carries for 55 yards in the possession, including the final two yards up the middle.
Glacier responded with a 42-yard pass from McChesney to Jones, but the Bulldogs tied it up at 41-all on another Cook 5-yard TD run. That score was set up when Jake Eisenbarth raced off his right tackle 40 yards on the opening play of the drive.
Glacier scored first in the fourth quarter, as their drive was extended by the first of two costly defensive pass interference calls. Cook scored again on a 1-yarder, but Jones broke a pair of tackles on a 30-yard jaunt to give the Wolfpack a 48-35 edge.
The teams traded punts before the Bulldogs saw a Cook pass picked by Jones, who returned it 25 yards to give the Wolfpack the edge the needed to hang on for the win.
“This is a great group of kids,” Grey said of his Bulldogs. “I’m not sure people realize the time and effort these guys give in the offseason. They were in every morning working hard and getting better every day. We’re really going to miss our seniors.”
In other Class AA playoff games on Friday, Billings Skyview beat Helena High 34-28 in Helena and Bozeman knocked off Missoula Sentinel 42-17 in Bozeman.
Great Falls Russell plays at Helena Capital on Saturday. The winner of that game will play at Glacier next week. Bozeman will host Skyview.
Butte High closes the season at 6-5.
Butte 13 14 14 14 — 55 Butte Glacier INDIVIDUAL STATS
Glacier 20 14 7 21 — 62
G — Brandon Purdy 40 field goal, 10:28
G — Purdy 26 field goal, 7:41
B — Tyler Earles 65 run (kick failed), 7:20
G — Brady McChesney 10 run (Purdy kick), 3:51
B — Dallas Cook 1 run (Sean Staples kick), 0:31
G — Logan Jones 50 pass from Brady McChesney (Purdy kick), 0:09
G — Evan Epperly 4 pass from McChesney (Purdy kick), 11:17
B — Dalton Daum 70 pass from Cook (Staples kick), 10:53
G — Epperly 64 pass from McChesney (Purdy kick), 10:00
B — Cook 1 run (Staples kick), 0:14
B — Cook 3 run (Staples kick), 7:28
G — Jones 50 pass from McChesney (Purdy kick), 6:24
B — Cook 3 run (Staples kick), 5:26
G — Todd Ogden 1 run (Purdy kick), 11:43
B — Cook 1 run (Staples kick), 7:04
G — Jones 30 run (Purdy kick), 5:35
G — Jones 15 interception return (Purdy kick), 2:12
B — Cook 1 run (Staples kick), 1:03
First downs 21 18
Rushes-yards 43-274 36-194
Passing yards 297 303
Comp-Att-Int 25-50-3 17-34-0
Total Yards 571 497
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 9-94 1 0-110
RUSHING — Butte, Dallas Cook 29-149, Jake Eisenbarth 11-56, Tyler Earles 1-65. Glacier, Brady McChesney 10-54, Todd Ogden 3-2, Noah James 1-11, Logan Jones 16-116, Casey Kostecki 4-9, Tucker Rauthe 2-2.
PASSING — Butte, Cook 25-50-297-3. Glacier, McChesney 17-34-303-0
RECEIVING — Butte, Eisenbarth 3-32, Paul Campbell 7-44, Peter Granger 3-25, Zach Johnson 1-18, Sean Doyle 2-6, Dalton Daum 3-84, Brody Hart 5-45, Cory Farstveet 1-43. Glacier, Jones 7-143, Evan Epperly 4-75, Kaden Schoenthal 2-28, Devin Cochran 1-14, Sam McCamley 2-37, Kevin Malloy 1-6.