First Half Play by Play, Paul Panisko. Color John Thatcher
Second Half Play by Play, Paul Panisko. Color John Thatcher
Story from Butte Sports
HELENA – Butte High played its best football game in almost two months, though the Bulldogs came up short on the final score. Helena High took advantage of five Butte turnovers and a few other lapses to claim a 38-25 Class AA football win over the Bulldogs Friday night at Vigilante Stadium in the Capital City.
Helena quarterback Jackson Thennis ran for a 9-yard score and passed for two more to lead the Bengals to their seventh win in nine games. Ryan Arntson opened up the scoring with a 62-yard run, then later found paydirt on a 15-yard pass from Thennis.
Butte High quarterback Ty Peterson continued to progress at his position, throwing for three touchdowns – one each to Kiley Caprara, Matt Merzlak and Jake Salmonsen – and then running for a fourth.
“We came out and competed all night,” Butte High head coach Arie Grey said. “We made a couple mistakes in every phase, but we competed and played hard and it’s nice to see some good things happen.”
Helena led throughout, as Arntson’s big 62-yard score came on the third play from scrimmage. Butte’s defense came around on the Bengals’ next possession though, as Justin Peterson led a gang tackle-for-loss of Arntson, followed by a solo sack by Jake Moore.
The Bulldog offense suffered from another slow start, punting its first possession. Tyler Matteucci earned his first of two interceptions on the evening which was immediately followed by a 22-yard scoring sweep by Helena’s Keair Adgerson.
Butte punted and fumbled another couple of drives before Peterson found Caprara on a 16-yard pass completion which signaled Butte’s first first down right at the end of the first quarter. It was Caprara’s third catch of 11 in the game (one set of stats had Caprara with 15 catches for 170 yards) for 127 yards. Merzlak also hauled in three passes on the drive, the last of which was a 33-yard touchdown catch on a perfect pass and catch in traffic.
Though the Bengals answered with a touchdown and field goal before half, Butte High had shown the ability to move the ball and opened the third quarter with a solid, sustained drive bolstered by a 22-yard pass completion to Caprara followed by a 30-yarder to Will O’Connor. The drive ended when Salmonsen raced into the corner of the end zone to haul in a nice 16-yard toss from Peterson.
Helena hit back with a pair of scores before another big Butte drive ended with Peterson scoring on a sneak to end the third quarter. Caprara had a 30- and 17-yard catch during the campaign, but Bo Mortensen’s 13-yard burst up the middle was the play that set up the short touchdown.
The Bulldog defense came on strong in the fourth quarter, as Justin Best and Brian LaFond each picked up Helena fumbles, helping even out a couple of Butte turnovers.
Caprara made a 6-yard catch for a score on Butte’s final offensive play of the night, capping the best game of the season for both himself and Peterson.
“We just keep fighting,” Caprara said. “We’ve had a tough season with some injuries, but we won’t quit.”
Grey also kept on with the mantra for his team.
“We have to continue to get better every day,” he said. “In life, school and football, we have to keep improving. We had some little things go wrong tonight, but they’re things we can shore up. We’ll work on it and we’ll be back here next week.”
The Bulldogs will wrap up their season next Friday on the same field where they’ll face Helena Capital. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.