First Half Play by Play Ron Davis, Color Lee LeBresche
Second Half Play by Play Ron Davis, Color Lee LeBresche
Game story from Butte Sports
By Derek Hendrickson
DILLON — The Dillon Beavers reclaimed the Southwestern A Championship and capped an undefeated regular season with a 33-7 win over the Butte Central Maroons Friday night at Vigilante Field.
The Maroons stood toe to toe with the two time defending state champions for most of the first half when what was likely the key sequence of the game occurred.
Trailing 7-0 midway through the 2nd quarter the Maroons punted the ball away and Dillon set up shop from their own 24. A low snap was juggled by junior quarterback Troy Andersen and the ball bounced back to the 8-yard line where Colin McArthur came out of the scrum with the pigskin.
The Maroons had struggled to get much going but the opportunity to even the score and seize momentum was at hand. After twoBlake Burton runs got them to the 6 and a 3rd down pass was knocked away by Nate Simkins Central ran an out to Cole Harper that was overthrown and gave the ball right back to the Beavers.
It was all Dillon from there on, much to the delight of a packed stadium celebrating senior parent night.
The Beavers had scored on their first possession and then were stymied on 4 straight before marching 94 yards in 3 plays following their goal line stand. The dagger was a screen to Payton Lafrentz who got a great initial block and then ran untouched down the sideline for an 80 yard touchdown that would put Dillon up 13-0 heading into the locker room.
Dillon wasted little time in the second half padding their cushion. They went 79 yards in 4 plays, 66 of them on two Andersen runs and quickly built the lead to 19 points. It was the first of three consecutive TD drives by the Beavers to open the second half.
Andrew English punched in a 6-yard score on the second drive and R.J. Fitzgerald did the honors for Dillon early in the fourth and put the Beavers in a commanding 33-0 position.
The Maroons continued to fight despite the growing deficit and finally broke through with a scoring play with about 4 minutes left in the game. Dillon appeared poised to put the mercy rule into effect when Ryan Moodry scooped up a fumble and galloped 93 yards for a touchdown to put Central on the board.
It was too little too late, however and the Maroons were never able to mount any kind of comeback effort to challenge the Beavers, who finished as one of 2 undefeated teams in Class A, along with Miles City. Dillon has assured themselves of home field as long as they are alive in the Class A playoffs, which they will open in 2 weeks after a bye as the top seed from the Southwest.
The Maroons had already guaranteed themselves at least the 2nd seed before Friday’s game and a home playoff game. Central is tentatively scheduled to host Polson Friday evening on Bob Green Field at Montana Tech in first round playoff action. The Pirates knocked the Maroons off 28-14 two weeks ago in Polson.
The first half was a frustrating one for the Maroon faithful, who filled the vistor’s bleachers at Vigilante Field. Central stopped Dillon repeatedly after giving up a touchdown on the Beaver’s first drive, a three yard run by Andersen.
To go along with the failed first and goal Central also had several manageable third downs they fell short on. The Maroons opted to pass on all of these attempts against the stout front line of Dillon, but Kump had a hard time connecting with his receivers. The field conditions certainly played a roll in this as the footing gave out from under players from both sides throughout the game.
The normally accurate Kump only hit on 12 of 30 passing attempts for 145 yards. Things weren’t much better percentage wise for Andersen, as he was 8 of 19 on the night for 164 yards. Both quarterbacks were picked off once, with Cole Harper getting one for the Maroons and Simkins returning the favor, each in the second quarter.
Sam Johnston led the Maroon receiving corps with 63 yards on 4 catches, all in the second half. Lafrentz piled up 134 yards on his four grabs with almost all of those yards coming on passes completed behind the line of scrimmage.
The Maroons found very tough sledding as early down rushing attempts didn’t net many positive yards. Burton fought his way to 38 yards on 10 first half carries and 52 total for the game. The inability to get much going on the ground set up the key third down situations that Maroons couldn’t overcome for most of the night.
The Beavers used a committee approach and found success running the ball with fresh legs. 7 players got at least one carry for Dillon, with Andersen gaining the most yards from his QB position. English and Fitzgerald both did most of the rest of the damage before some younger players toted the ball down the stretch.
The game was eerily similar to the last time Central played at Dillon, a game with an almost identical score, that one being a 34-7 Beaver win. Central also had a handful of scoring chances in that game they couldn’t take advantage of. Both games were certainly closer than the final score appeared, but each time the Maroons had to drive home wondering what could have been.
“I thought we played hard,” said a clearly disappointed Maroon Head Coach Don Peoples Jr. after the game. “We just didn’t play well enough to win. We didn’t make plays when we had opportunities and that’s disappointing but we’ll be ready to play next Friday”
Butte Central 0 0 0 7 — 7
Dillon 7 6 13 7 — 33
DIL — Andersen 3 yard run (Lafrentz kick) 7-0. Drive 6 plays, 45 yards, 1:57
DIL — Lafrentz 80 yard reception from Andersen (kick failed, Schulte block) 13-0. Drive 3 plays, 86 yards, :24
DIL — Andersen 29 yard run (pass failed) 19-0. Drive 4 plays, 79 yards, 2:08
DIL-English 6 yard run (Lafrentz kick) 26-0 Drive 10 plays, 60 yards, 4:05
DIL — Fitzgerald 5 yard run (Lafrentz kick) 33-0. Drive 9 plays, 66 yards, 3:23
BC— Moodry 93 yard fumble return (Tyler Kump kick) 33-7.
PASSING — BC, Kump 12-30-1-145. Dillon, Andersen 8-19-1-164, King 1-1-0- 8.
RUSHING — BC, Burton 14-52, Kump 8-4, Moodry 1-(-2). Dillon, Andersen 13-106, Fitzgerald 11-52, Walker 5-42, English 5-31, King 6-10, Kosolosky 1-5, Nichols 3-4.
RECEIVING — BC, Johnston 4-63, Burton 2-41, Harper 3-24, McGree 1-12, Hollow 2-5. Dillon, Lafrentz 4-134, Fitzgerald 2-32, Hritsco 3-15.