BUTTE — Butte High head football coach Arie Grey recognizes what an asset he has in senior wide receiver Cameron Gurnsey, who has been a mentor to the Bulldogs' younger receivers in his final high school season before setting his sites on playing for the University of Montana.
"I tell you what, Cameron Gurnsey is probably one of the ultimate team players and leaders we've had in the receiving corp," Grey said. "What he's done with our young kids has been unbelievable. Everyday you get to watch Cameron mentor our receivers cause he's seen everything."
If Gurnsey is the mentor, one of his protégés this season has undoubtedly been freshman wideout Hudson Luedtke who, after not playing football in eighth grade, made a seamless transition from junior high to the varsity ranks.
Luedtke said Gurnsey provides not just a deep knowledge of what it take to excel at wideout but has been a encouraging figure as Luedtke continues to gain experience.
"Coming into the season I didn't know the offense and (Gurnsey) has really helped me," Luedtke said. "When I make a mistake he's always there to lift me up instead of being negative so that's a good help."
Luedtke, the son of Butte High head boys basketball coach Matt Luedtke, led all Butte receivers with six touchdowns in the regular season, including the Bulldogs' first score of the season against Billings Senior. He also posted 50.7 receiving yards per game, trailing only Gurnsey in that stat.
"I wanted to have a big year and I put in some work this summer, so I planned to have a good year," Luedtke said. "But this is all really cool to me cause I haven't played football in a couple years so when I came back it was pretty cool to have a big year."
The Bulldogs (4-5 overall, 3-4 in the Western AA) are now gearing up for a first-round playoff game at Great Falls against a Bison team that surged past Butte 41-17 in a Week 2 non-conference game. The winner of that game gets a quarterfinal matchup with undefeated Helena Capital, the undisputed No. 1 team in Class AA.
The Bulldogs realize what a challenge they'll face in Great Falls but feel they've come a long ways since that early September matchup.
"I think we're in a good spot," Luedtke said. "I'm happy we got to play (Great Falls) the second game of the year. And that didn't go as we wanted it to but I'm happy we get to play them again, get another shot at them."
Said Grey: "Obviously Great Falls is a very talented team. And really they did a tremendous job of handling adversity. That's one are we've got to be better at. Going on the road and banding together is critical and we're excited for this opportunity to go up to Great Falls."