BIGFORK – Kalispell Flathead had to leave its hometown for its first home game of the season, but the atmosphere and performance didn’t suffer for the Braves.

Flathead pulled out to a 15-point lead in the third quarter, and then hung on to beat the Butte Bulldogs in Bigfork, 27-19. The win gives Flathead a great start after finishing 3-7 last year. Butte’s losing streak reached six games, after dropping the last five of 2016 to finish 2-8.

The Braves took their first lead late in the first half when Taylor Morton found Anthony Jones in the end zone. Jones drug his feet near the pilon for a touchdown, putting Flathead up 14-12.

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Jones caught another touchdown pass from Morton early in the third quarter. Then a Jon Baker touchdown a couple minutes later put Flathead up 27-12.

Butte did record a touchdown late in the third quarter to get back within one score, but neither team scored in the fourth quarter. A sack, forced fumble, and recovery in the final minute secured the win for the Braves.

The Bulldogs began the game with the first score. Bo Mortenson plunged in on a one-yard touchdown, and it was 6-0 after a missed point-after attempt. Flathead answered with a short touchdown pass to Austin Demars. Butte added two field goals to lead 12-7 before Jones’ first score to end the first half.

The teams met in Bigfork because of construction delays at Kalispell’s Legends Stadium. Crews are still laying the new artificial turf at the century-old venue. Kalispell Glacier also moved its Friday game and state championship rematch versus Billings Senior to Columbia Falls.