BUTTE -- The anticipation continues to grow in the Mining City as Butte continues preparations for its first state championship appearance since 2012.
Bulldog players were just young guns the last time Naranche Stadium hosted a state championship that included Butte High, with Jake Dennehy's 46-yard field goal as time expired giving the Mining City its first title in 21 years, as Butte defeated Bozeman 38-36. When last Friday's final horn sounded on Butte's 35-6 semifinal win over Billings West, and players learned they would again host Bozeman in the state championship game, the irony wasn't lost on them.
"Oh, it's Butte-Bozeman? Wow. All right. Bring it, that's awesome," said Butte defensive back Scout Allen moments after the Bulldogs' win Friday. "I want to relive that (2012 championship game). Let's take it to them, man. That's who I wanted to win so we could beat them here at home again, so we'll see. It will be really fun."
"It's crazy because I looked up to all those (former Butte Bulldog) guys, especially Zach Bunney and all those guys, Dallas Cook, I looked up to those guys," added Bulldogs running back Kameron Moreno. "I listened to (the 2012 game) on the radio, I wasn't fortunate enough to watch the game, but yeah, it's great to play Bozeman in a rematch, the state championship."
This season was the first in more than a decade that Butte and Bozeman didn't meet in the regular season, according to Bozeman head coach Levi Wesche, as the Bulldogs shifted to the Western AA and the Hawks remained in the Eastern AA. Squaring off for the Class AA state championship in their lone meeting of 2019 will add another chapter to the continued rivalry.
Bozeman has won two state championships since that 2012 loss to Butte -- 2013 and 2015 -- while the Bulldogs have qualified for the postseason only twice -- 2013 and 2018 -- falling in the first round each time.
The Bulldogs and Hawks clash Friday night in a 7 p.m. kickoff from Naranche Stadium.