Note: This article was corrected to show that the game in Charlo was on Friday night, not Saturday.
The Choteau High School Bulldogs football team was scheduled to play Great Falls Central Catholic on Saturday, Sept. 18, on the road, but a COVID-19 contact tracing issue has forced GFCC to to reschedule. Instead, Choteau's varsity football team will play Charlo on Friday in Charlo.
Choteau is 0-3, and hungry for a first win.
Choteau Coach Lucas Gunderson said GFCC had to cancel its game last weekend against Belt because they had several players injured and did not have the numbers to play. GFCC lost two weeks ago to a hot Rocky Boy team.
Work on the practice field this week will include fine-tuning the boys’ offensive and defensive assignments and execution. The Bulldogs will also work on improving their short passing game to help break up their running plays. They also want to work to spread out the other team’s defenders, giving the Choteau boys a better chance to make good yardage on each carry or pass.
The team’s new quarterback, Garrett Torok, will start for his third game of the season in the GFCC contest.
Gunderson said so far, the Choteau team has not been hurt by injuries or by COVID-19 so he hopes to have a full team for play this week.
Choteau’s junior varsity football team played Cascade at home on Monday and will play on the road on Sept. 20 against Simms with the game starting at 4:30 p.m.
In last week’s game, Choteau faced a very evenly matched Cascade team and came very close to their first win of the season. Penalties played a big role in Choteau’s loss, as the boys had two touchdowns called back, and lost 80 yards in penalties in the game.
They had no trouble moving the ball on the ground, notching 360 yards of rushing for four touchdowns, but they had no passing yards on offense as Torok was 0 for four passes and was intercepted once.
Running back Carter Morgan had 22 carries for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow RB Jeff Colesworthy had 22 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Torok kept the ball himself 12 times for 58 yards and wide receiver Jacob Beattie had one carry for four yards.
Coach Gunderson said mistakes cost Choteau the game. The boys had three offensive fumbles at critical times, lost the two touchdowns to penalties, were intercepted once and those mistakes made the difference in the close game. “We did the right things, we just made mistakes and had penalties at the worst time,” he said.
The Choteau boys played hard throughout the game, he said, as Choteau’s defensive line really controlled the Badgers well. Choteau’s Derrek Brownell and Jacob Beattie each had an interception and Choteau recovered two Badger fumbles, including one recovered by Will Patterson.
Choteau led 22-20 in the fourth quarter with 5:07 left, when the Cascade quarterback, James Lewis, lobbed a 39-yard touchdown pass to put Cascade up 26-22. The Badgers’ PAT failed, and they kicked to Choteau.
The Bulldogs returned the ball to the Cascade 35, but on the next play, the boys fumbled the ball and Cascade recovered. Cascade switched to offense on their own 35 and fumbled the handoff giving Choteau the chance to recover the ball and start a new drive.
Torok handed the ball off to Morgan who took the ball down to the Cascade 17-yard line. Beattie had a short carry, and then Morgan run the ball in for a 14-yard touchdown, to give Choteau the lead back, 28-26. Choteau’s PAT attempt failed.
With about 2:00 left in the game, Choteau kicked to Cascade. On the first play of the drive, Derrek Brownell came up with a big stop and then Torok sacked Lewis on the next play to make it third and 20 from Cascade’s own 11-yard-line. Lewis went to the air, connecting on a long pass to a wide receiver who was stopped at the Choteau 26-yard line. On the second down, Choteau was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit and the penalty put Cascade on the Choteau 11-yard line with 1:16 on the clock.
Lewis kept the ball himself, getting to the six-yard line and then in a trick play, the Cascade running back passed to wide receiver Preston Hastings for a five-yard touchdown. The Cascade PAT failed, but the TD put the Badgers up, 32-28, with just :11 on the clock. The time ran out before Choteau could put a scoring drive into play.
Going forward, Gunderson said the boys need to win all four of their remaining games against GFCC, Rocky Boy, Fort Benton and Chinook. He said he is confident the boys will bounce back from the tough loss, work hard in practice and be ready for their first win of the season against GFCC.
Choteau 0-6-8-14 — 28
Cascade 6-6-0-20 — 32
Cascade — James Lewis 15-yd. pass to Connor Sawyer. (Run failed.)
Choteau — Carter Morgan 8-yd. run. (Kick failed.)
Cascade — Lewis 60-yd. pass. (Run failed.)
Choteau — Jeff Colesworthy 30-yd. run. (Run good.)
Choteau — Colesworthy 1-yd. run. (Run good.)
Cascade — Lewis 30-yd. pass to Sawyer. (Pass good.)
Cascade — 39-yd. pass. (Pass failed.)
Choteau — Morgan 14-yd. run. (Pass failed.)
Cascade — 5-yd. pass to Preston Hastings. (Pass failed.)