BUTTE — A few lightning delays seemed to give Butte High a much-needed jolt in the season opener against Billings Senior.
After falling into a 14-2 deficit midway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs marched downfield and scored immediately following a 30-minute pause to cut Senior's lead to 14-8 en route to a 36-28 Class AA non-conference victory over the Broncs on Thursday evening at Naranche Stadium.
Butte quarterback Jace Stenson racked up four total touchdowns, including an 80-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to Cayde Stajcar and a 40-yard touchdown run.
Senior's BB Bergen, who totaled three touchdowns, put Senior on the board first with a 68-yard scoop-and score midway through the first quarter. The Broncs then sent a punt snap through the back of the endzone to hand Butte a safety and cut the lead to 7-2.
Two possessions later, running a no-huddle offense, Senior scored again on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Oakley to a wide-open Bergen to put the Broncs up 14-2.
Then, with 5:26 remaining in the half, officials called for a 30-minute delay due to lightning being within 10 miles of Naranche.
Following the delay, Butte came out and put together a scoring drive on the next possession, capping it off with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Stenson to freshman receiver Hudson Luedtke to trim Senior's lead to 14-8 for the halftime score.
After the break, and another lightning delay, Stenson threw another touchdown pass, this one to Ruesso Batterman. Senior and Butte then exchanged touchdowns — a scoring pass from Oakley to Maclain Burckley and then Stenson's 80-yard catch-and-run score to Stajcar — to tie the game at 22-22 in the third quarter.
Butte's Kale McDonald then intercepted Oakley for a pick-6 to give Butte the 29-22 go-ahead score with a little over three minutes left in the third quarter and Stenson added on his touchdown run at the end of the third to extend the Bulldogs' lead to 36-22.
With just over a minute remaining in the game, Oakley and Bergen connected for another touchdown score but Butte recovered the ensuing onside kick to ice the game.
Butte will travel to Great Falls next week while Billings Senior will host Helena High.