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Butte High pulls away from Missoula Big Sky, locks up playoff berth

Butte High pulls away from Missoula Big Sky, locks up playoff berth

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BUTTE — Make that three in a row for Butte High’s football team.

Blake Drakos accounted for four touchdowns, Christian Vetter had a receiving and a rushing score and the Bulldogs used a fast start in the first quarter to bolt past Missoula Big Sky 51-33 in Butte’s final home game of the regular season on Friday at Naranche Stadium while clinching a postseason berth in the Class AA playoffs.  

The Bulldogs were able to overcome a noteworthy performance from senior Big Sky quarterback Colter Janacaro who rushed for 208 yards and three scores and added another 158 yards and two touchdowns through the air.  

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 3-3 and clinched their third-straight victory in convincing fashion after opening the season with three consecutive losses. The Eagles fell to 1-5.  

Butte scored on the first drive of the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Drakos to sophomore Cameron Gurnsey. The Eagles responded with a 59-yard scoring run from Janacaro.

Butte kicker Casey Kautzman tacked on a 43-yard field goal later in the quarter. Big Sky got a big return from Shawn Huseby on the next drive before Aidan Lee forced a Janacaro fumble to give the Bulldogs the ball back. Butte capitalized on a 38-yard strike from Drakos to Christian Vetter to put the Bulldogs up 17-7.

Janacaro then scored on a 3-yard run — Butte blocked the ensuing kick — to trim the Bulldogs’ lead to 17-13 to close out the first quarter.

Lee found the endzone midway through the second quarter to expand Butte’s lead to 24-13.

The Eagles responded with Janacaro’s third touchdown of the half, this one from 46 yards out. On Butte’s next drive, Gavin Vetter bolted into the endzone for a 2-yard score to give Butte a 31-19 lead to close out the half.

Neither team scored after the break until midway through the third quarter when Janacaro hit Shawn Huseby for a 16-yard touchdown to cut Butte's lead to a single possession at 31-25. 

But Butte pulled away before the third quarter ended on an 8-yard run from Drakos and an 11-yard touchdown pass from Drakos to Gurnsey to make it 45-25 heading into the final quarter.   

In the fourth quarter, Janacaro hit Mitch Mutalt for a 12-yard touchdown pass but Big Sky was held scoreless the remainder of the way. Christian Vetter scored his second touchdown of the day on a 27-yard run with 3 seconds remaining to put an exclamation point on Butte's win. 

Butte closes out the regular season next week on the road against Missoula Hellgate while Big Sky hosts Kalipsell Flathead.

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