BOZEMAN – A big battle is taking place Friday night as the undefeated Bozeman Hawks welcome in the Butte Bulldogs football team to Van Winkle Stadium.
The Hawks (3-0) are tied with Great Falls High and Helena High on top of the Class AA standings. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (1-2) rest in the middle of the pack. But Bozeman knows better than to underestimate an opponent like Butte.
Last season, Bozeman was 3-0 when it traveled to the Mining City and lost to Butte 31-7. After that loss, Bozeman struggled throughout the rest of the season, barely squeaking into the state playoffs as the No. 8 seed. Now, the Hawks find themselves in the exact same situation with the Bulldogs, and they don’t want history to repeat itself on Friday.
“Absolutely it’s in my mind. I think it’s in all of our players’ minds. We went down there and they gave us a pretty good whipping last year,” said Bozeman head coach Levi Wesche. “I think right now we have to be aware that they are a very dangerous team and that records don’t mean anything when it comes to this rivalry, and we better be prepared or they’re going to embarrass us at home.”
Bozeman has a new-found confidence this year compared to last, and the offense is clicking on all cylinders, averaging more than 41 points per game. The Hawks’ defense has also held opponents to fewer than three scores a game. But they aren’t thinking about records when it comes to Butte. The slate is clean and they need to set the tone to separate themselves from the loss of last season.
“You’ve got to come ready to play in (Class AA), so we are taking it one game at a time right now,” said Wesche. “We are 0-0 and trying to work on being 1-0.”
The rivalry game between Bozeman and Butte kicks off Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.