The Choteau High School varsity football team, which finished the regular season with a 60-28 loss to Chinook on the road Oct. 9, is traveling to Chester today to play the fourth-place Pool B seed Chester-Joplin-Inverness as their last game of the season.
CHS Athletic Director John Shepherd said on Thursday that a potential eligibility issue with a transfer player had been resolved with the Montana High School Association determine that no violation of MHSA rules had occurred.
The boys posted a 2-5 record, beating Great Falls Central Catholic and Rocky Boy and falling to Sheridan, Belt, Cascade, Fort Benton and Chinook.
Choteau ended the season in fourth place in Pool A of the Northern B/C eight-man football league, giving them the opportunity to play one post-season game against CJI. This game has no playoff ramifications because the fourth place teams do not advance into the playoffs.
Teams advancing into the playoffs will play in seeded playoff games on Oct. 16-17 with the first round of playoffs in the B/C eight-man football league starting on Oct. 31. The state championship will be played on Nov. 21.
Coach Lucas Gunderson said on Monday that he hoped the MHSA finds there was no violation. Shepherd said the he, assistant AD Wendi Hammond and Gunderson all thought they were complying with the MHSA’s eligibility rules in this situation.
Gunderson said the Bulldogs only had a couple of wins in the scorebook, but they gained invaluable playing experience that will be important next year. “It’s a win based on growth,” he said. He will miss this year’s seniors next year, he said, but he and the other coaches are excited about the younger boys coming up.
The Choteau boys were not able to run a junior varsity season this year or last year, and the loss of that playing time for the younger team members last season left Choteau with an inexperienced team even though many of the key positions were filled with talented athletes ranging from the freshman center, Gus Lee, to the senior quarterback Tony Daley.
Gunderson said he made a point this season to rotate in Choteau’s younger players who would have been on a junior varsity team had it been possible to give them high school playing time. He said the older players did a great job of guiding and coaching those younger players as they subbed in.
Choteau’s boys finished the season with a busy week that saw them defeat the Great Falls Central Catholic Mustangs, 62-28, on Oct. 6 in a make-up game. GFCC was supposed to play Choteau earlier in the season, but had to postpone the game because of COVID-19 cases associated with the team.
Choteau’s offense dominated the GFCC game as the Bulldogs quarterbacks, Daley and backup Bowen Rappold, a freshman, handed off the ball 30 times for 380 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. In the air, Daley completed one of four passes for 42 yards while Rappold threw only one pass that was incomplete. The Bulldogs’ offense totaled 422 yards.
Choteau’s leading carriers were Carter Morgan with nine carries for 190 yards and four touchdowns, Daley with seven quarterback keepers for 79 yards and one touchdown, Jeff Colesworthy with seven carries for 86 yards and three touchdowns, Derek Brownell with six carries for 25 yards and one touchdown, and Rappold with one quarterback keeper for no yards.
Colesworthy had one reception for 42 yards.
In this game, the Bulldogs kicked to GFCC on the first play of the game and the Choteau defense quickly forced GFCC to punt. On Choteau’s first offensive possession of the game, Daley led the Bulldogs down the field and Choteau scored on a 22-yard run by Morgan followed by a two-point conversion run by Colesworthy to take the lead, 8-0. By the end of the first half, the Bulldogs had a solid, 20-6, lead, and they never let GFCC gain any traction.
Choteau’s defense pummeled GFCC quarterback Dillon Warren, coming up with multiple sacks for losses and allowing GFCC to get only a few first downs in the game. Choteau’s defenders, including Jared Selander, Jacob Major, Daley, Morgan, Colesworthy, Jacob Beattie, Lee, Landon Jamison and others all got in on tackles of GFCC running backs. Daley also came up with a pass interception just before the halftime buzzer rang, stopping play. Choteau led, 42-14, at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Bulldogs scored three times and held GFCC scoreless, to lead, 62-14, at the start of the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Gunderson rotated in backup quarterback Rappold and several sophomores and freshmen, giving them the opportunity to get some varsity experience. GFCC was able to score twice in the last stanza but couldn’t overcome the Bulldogs lead.
Gunderson said said the Choteau boys had an all-around good game against GFCC and were happy to win their last home game of the season. Choteau’s offensive and defensive lines both played very well, he said.
The game against Chinook was tough, physically and mentally, for the Choteau boys who had played GFCC on Tuesday. The Sugarbeeters brought a different game plan than Choteau had prepared for and played well. Choteau was able to shut down the team’s vaunted tight end but couldn’t fill the other holes.
Choteau’s defenders put Chinook in third and long situations repeatedly, but couldn’t hold them off. The Bulldogs had a couple of untimely turnovers that hurt as well.
Carter Morgan scored two rushing touchdowns for the Bulldogs and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Derek Brownell also had a punt return for a touchdown.
Statistics and game highlights from Chinook were not available.
Choteau 14-28-20-0 — 62
GFCC 6-8-0-14 — 28
CHS — Carter Morgan 22-yd. run. (Jeff Colesworthy run.)
CHS — Tony Daley 32-yd. run. (Run failed.)
GFCC — Dillon Warren 5-yd. run. (Kick failed.)
CHS — Jeff Colesworthy 15-yd. run. (Run failed.)
CHS — Morgan 71-yd. run. (Daley run.)
CHS — Morgan 46-yd. run. (Run failed.)
GFCC — Warren 20-yd. run. (Warren run.)
CHS — Morgan 44-yd. run. (Pass to Morgan.)
CHS — Colesworthy 15-yd. run. (Pass failed.)
CHS — Derek Brownell 15-yd. run. (Daley run.)
CHS — Colesworthy 5-yd. run. (Pass failed.)
GFCC — Tucker Atkinson 3-yd run. (Warren run.)
GFCC — Isaac Madill 11-yd. pass from Warren. (Run failed.)