The Choteau High School football team posted its first loss of the season last week, falling to Great Falls Central Catholic (now 4-0) in a home game, but the boys are back at practice this week, getting ready to play Centerville for Homecoming on Sept. 21.
Homecoming week activities include spirit camp put on by the CHS cheer squad on Sept 19 from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m., volleyball against Cut Bank at home on Sept. 20, starting at 4:15 p.m., followed by the bonfire and pep rally in the student parking lot.
Then on Sept. 21 the CHS Homecoming parade will take place on Main Avenue North at 3:30 p.m., followed by a junior high school football game against Centerville at 4:30 p.m. and a free barbecue tailgate sponsored by and served by First Bank Montana-Choteau outside the Multipurpose Building next to the football field.
The varsity football game against the C-ville Miners will start at 7 p.m. and CHS Homecoming royalty will be introduced and the king and queen announced during halftime at the football game.
On Saturday, the CHS volleyball squads will start with C-squad action against Rocky Boy at 1 p.m. with JV and varsity squads to follow with the varsity playing at about 4 p.m.
Homecoming activities will conclude with a school dance Saturday night.
Choteau Coach Lucas Gunderson said Centerville, like GFCC, has a size advantage over Choteau and will try to use the Miners’ fleet-footed quarterback to come up with big rushing gains.
In practice this week, the boys will work on playing error-free football and completing their plays from snap to whistle, Gunderson said, adding that the boys just made too many mistakes against a solid GFCC team last week.
The boys will also be looking at their pass coverage, making sure they can shut down big pass plays, and on offense, they’ll be working on schemes to make sure their rushing game gets well established early.
The Choteau varsity team fell to 3-1 on the season with the conference loss to GFCC. The boys have three more weeks of regular season play until the seeded playoff games on Oct. 12 and 13. The first round of playoffs in the Class B/C eight-man league begins on Oct. 27.
Last week’s game against GFCC started on a somber note as the high school football program recognized Rick and Jennifer Werdal of Choteau and their family in a short ceremony to retire the uniform of their late son, J.J., a member of the Class of 2015.
J.J. Werdal, 21, died in a single-vehicle accident involving alcohol on July 4 south of Choteau on U.S. Highway 287. He was a standout Choteau wrestler and football player. Senior Pete Henderson wore No. 12 one last time against GFCC. After the game, the school retired the jersey number.
In last week’s game, the Bulldogs opened with Kyler Crabtree, a junior special teams returner, running back the kickoff 50 yards for a touchdown, giving Choteau the early lead, 6-0, after Choteau’s two-point conversion attempt failed.
Great Falls Central Catholic answered on its next possession, marching down the field in 11 plays with quarterback Noah Ambuehl, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior, handing off to running back Riley Dickinson, 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, also a senior, and tossing a short pass to Ethan Vincent, 6-foot-0, 160-pound receiver. Choteau broke up the extra-point attempt, and the score was tied at 6-6 with 7:12 left in the first quarter.
From that point on, however, the GFCC controlled ball possession and reeled off four unanswered touchdowns, as the superior size of the GFCC offensive line overwhelmed Choteau’s defenders, who worked to contain Dickinson on the rush and Vincent and Shane Girres as receivers.
On defense, GFCC shut down Choteau’s run, allowing only 17 rushing yards. Choteau had more success when junior quarterback Johnny Rappold, 6-foot-0, 185 pounds, threw short passes. Rappold tallied 163 passing yards for a team total of 180 yards offense, compared to GFCC’s 137 passing yards and 257 rushing yards for a total of 394 yards.
The GFCC defense recovered one Choteau fumble and intercepted Choteau twice.
Choteau scored just once more in the third quarter, as Rappold connected with Trenton Durocher, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior, on a nine-yard pass. The two-point conversion failed.
GFCC scored once more in the third quarter on a short run, to lead, 39-12, and neither team scored in the fourth quarter.
Choteau got great effort from its defensive line with hard-hitting tackles by Pete Henderson, Bryan Ballard, Durocher, Shamus McNeil, Crabtree and Kolby Kovatch, who also worked hard to break up a number of GFCC pass plays. Choteau’s defenders also sacked Ambuehl a couple of times.
Choteau 6-0-6-0 — 12
GFCC 6-20-13-0 — 39
Choteau — Kyler Crabtree 50-yard kickoff return. (Pass failed.)
GFCC — Riley Dickinson 9-yard pass to Ethan Vincent. (Kick failed.)
GFCC — Dickinson 16-yard run. (Kick failed.)
GFCC — Dickinson 69-yard run. (Pass good.)
GFCC — Dickinson 28-yard run. (Pass failed.)
GFCC — Noah Ambuehl 66-yard pass to Shane Girres. (Kick good.)
Choteau — Johnny Rappold 9-yard pass to Trenton Durocher. (Pass failed.)
GFCC — Dickinson 5-yard run. (Kick failed.)