The Choteau Bulldogs football team is busy this week, playing at home against Great Falls Central Catholic in a make-up game Tuesday and traveling to Chinook on Friday for the final game of the regular season.
The Bulldogs are now 1-4 after losing, 66-6, to the undefeated Fort Benton Longhorns, the top team in the Northern B/C eight-man pool that Choteau belongs to.
Coach Lucas Gunderson on Sunday said the boys are looking forward to both games and hope to finish the season with two more wins. Choteau’s earlier win was against Rocky Boy while the Bulldogs’ other losses are to Sheridan, Belt and Cascade.
Gunderson said Chinook has a well balanced team with a strong offensive line and a powerful, athletic tight end. Choteau’s defense will have to keep Chinook from passing to the tight end and will need to play a clean game without costly penalties. Choteau’s offense should be able to take advantage of its players’ quickness and run the ball well against Chinook, Gunderson said. His team will also look at using more short-route passing plays to move the ball down the field.
Chinook, which belongs to the Pool B of the Northern Division, is in third place in that pool.
Looking at last week’s loss, Gunderson said the Choteau boys did a great job of holding the Longhorns to just eight points in the first quarter. Then as the Longhorns adjusted, they were able to rack up more points, taking advantage of their experience and their size. Gunderson said he expects the Longhorns to be in the hunt for a state championship in the post-season.
Choteau graduated most of its starters from last year, and the boys playing this season did not have a junior varsity schedule last year, so they are gaining experience in varsity game time. Unfortunately, Choteau has not been able to run a JV season this year either.
But, Gunderson said, the Choteau boys gave no quit and are very coachable. They come to the coaches and ask what they need to do better. Gunderson said he remains happy with the boys’ effort and said they have consistently improved as the season has gone on, reducing the number of penalties in each game, limiting turnovers and working to shut down big plays. In the loss to Fort Benton, Choteau had only a three penalties and no turnovers.
Choteau running back Carter Morgan scored the Bulldogs’ only touchdown in the game on a 39-yard run. The team’s attempt for a two-point conversion was stopped.
Choteau quarterback Tony Daley handed off the ball to two players during the game, Morgan and Jeff Colesworthy. Backup quarterback Bowen Rappold handed off to Dillon Harrell and Derek Brownell. Daley completed five of six passes in the game, throwing to Brownell once and Jacob Beattie three times.
Choteau 0-0-6-0 — 6
Fort Benton 8-30-16-12 — 66
Fort Benton — William Ullery 70-yd. pass to Andrew Ballantyne. (Jace Thompson run.)
Fort Benton — Ullery 18-yd. pass to Hayden Axtman. (Ullery pass to Ballantine.)
Fort Benton — Ullery 14-yard pass to Hayden Diekhans. (Ullery run.)
Fort Benton — Diekhans 35-yd. punt return. (Pass failed.)
Fort Benton — Ullery 15-yd. pass to Trevor O’Hara. (Thompson run.)
Fort Benton — Ullery 3-yd. pass to Diekhans. (Ullery run.)
Fort Benton— Ullery 40-yd. pass to Diekhans. (Axtman run.)
Choteau — Carter Morgan 39-yd. run. (Run failed.)
Fort Benton — Dane Byle 40-yd. run. (Pass failed.)
Fort Benton — Cade Ball 3-yd. run. (Run failed.)