Glacier football left no doubt about its effort in its latest win, blowing away Butte in a 55-21 Class AA football victory on Friday night at Legends Stadium.
The Wolfpack dominated from the opening kickoff, scoring 27 points in the opening quarter, and unlike in its last home game, kept building on that lead to put the game out of reach.
Glacier (7-1) scored quickly, holding Butte (2-6) to a loss of eight yards in a three-and-out to start the game, which set up a punt to speedy junior Jackson Pepe. Pepe, who already had two return touchdowns entering the game, took back another on the punt, finding the blocking alley along the right sideline to go untouched for a 44-yard score.
Butte fumbled deep in its own end two plays later which set up another Pepe touchdown, this one coming in the air as he took a short pass in the flat nine yards to paydirt.
Pepe scored again on Glacier’s next possession, running a jet sweep 20 yards around the defense for his third touchdown of the night to give Glacier a 21-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
“He had a huge game,” Glacier coach Grady Bennett said. “He made big plays, like he has all year.
“He’s such a weapon. He’s that guy for us. As he emerges a bit, he’s a special teams weapon obviously, but as a receiver and a running back (it opens up the offense).”
As it has in the past, Glacier showed a quick lapse after taking the big lead. Butte quarterback Ty Peterson heaved a ball deep from his own 20-yard-line to a wide open Kiley Caprara, who took advantage of a busted coverage on the play action pass to zip into the end zone and cut the lead back to 21-7.
Glacier didn’t take long to snap out of it, two possessions later rolling into Butte territory to set up a Drew Turner touchdown on a 23-yard run up the gut.
On the next drive, Butte dropped a snap and Glacier’s Hunter Rauthe scooped up the ball for a short touchdown, regaining any momentum the Wolfpack may have lost after giving up the long touchdown.
Glacier continued to press after halftime, Turner capping a seven-play drive to start the third quarter with a five-yard touchdown and a 41-7 lead.
Butte got a touchdown back on a high-leaping catch from Caprara over a Glacier defender in the end zone. Glacier answered that score as well, with quarterback Gilman finding Patrick O’Connell down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown less than three minutes later. The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Butte’s Bo Mortensen and Glacier’s Cole Crosby both punched in scores from the goal line, as Glacier wound down the clock with its backups in the game.
“It just shows you what effort will do. Just pure effort and playing hard,” Bennett said.
“As a coach you don’t always call out guys like that (after the loss to CMR). A loss is a loss and it happens. Big deal. But, it felt like we had let things slide to a level that was ultimately going to cost us big time down the road. I really needed to challenge them this week and call them out a bit. But, I also knew in my heart how they’d respond.
“I knew we were going to see that effort tonight and that effort is going to lead to this type of result.”
Gilman finished 15 for 27 passing for 251 yards and had 77 yards on the ground in a bounce back from a rough game in his first loss as a starter.
“Tadan is such a great athlete, the tendency can be when there’s a little bit of a struggle to try to do too much,” Bennett said. “Which we saw last week. I thought he was very efficient tonight. He stayed within the offense and took what Butte was giving him.”
Turner led the Wolfpack with 80 yards rushing and O’Connell had a team-high 106 yards receiving on four catches.
Caprara led Butte with eight catches for 166 yards and Mortensen had 75 yards on the ground.
The Glacier defense bounced back, forcing five turnovers in the win.
“By far it was our most disciplined night in the secondary,” Bennett said. “The couple of throws they made were beautiful. They were just perfect throws and catches. And (Caprara), man, he’s a player. They’re going to get some of those. Overall, I can’t wait to watch the film because I think this was our best night as a secondary.”
The Wolfpack will go on the road next week, but not that far, switching sidelines for the crosstown game against Flathead (3-5). The Braves lost to Helena Capital 30-20 on Friday night.
Butte 7 0 7 7 — 21
Glacier 27 7 14 7 — 55
G—Jackson Pepe 44 punt return (Cameron Anderson kick), 10:32
G—Pepe 10 pass from Tadan Gilman (Anderson kick), 9:02
G—Pepe 20 run (Anderson kick), 7:12
B—Kiley Caprara 80 pass from Ty Peterson (Nathaniel Ferguson kick), 7:00
G—Drew Turner 23 run (kick failed), 0:16
G—Hunter Rauthe 5 fumble return (Anderson kick), 11:54
G—Turner 5 run (Anderson kick), 9:19
B—Caprara 25 pass from Tommy Mellott (Ferguson kick), 5:46
G—Patrick O’Connell 55 pass from Gilman (Anderson kick), 3:18
B—Bo Mortensen 1 run (Ferguson kick), 11:56
G—Cole Crosby 2 run (Anderson kick), 9:02
First Downs 21 55
Rushes-Yards 35-104 38-270
Passing Yards 242 251
Att/Comp/Int 37-21-2 27-15-0
Total Plays-Yards 72-346 65-521
Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 1-5
Punt Returns-Yards 1-2 2-41
Kickoff Returns-Yards 4-61 4-62
Int. Returns-Yards 0-0 2-16
Punts-Avg. 7-36.9 7-31.4
Fumbles-Lost 4-3 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-65 14-106
Possession Time 33:46 28:45
RUSHING — Butte, Bo Mortensen 20-75, Tommy Mellott 7-38, Kiley Caprara 1-2, Ty Peterson 5-1. Glacier, Drew Turner 12-80, Tadan Gilman 9-77, Cole Crosby 12-69, Jackson Pepe 5-44.
PASSING — Butte, Ty Peterson 14-24-2-151, Tommy Mellott 7-13-0-91. Glacier, Tadan Gilman 15-27-0-251.
RECEIVING — Butte, Kily Caprara 8-166, Brady Deck 3-33, Will O’Connor 2-19, Kash Kelley 4-15. Glacier, Patrick O’Connell 4-106, Ethan Larson 2-66, Scout Willcut 5-46, Andrew Durado 3-23.
INTERCEPTIONS — Glacier, Jackson Pepe 1, Justin Gibson 1.
Wolfpack defensive backs Lance Dannic (23) and Patrick O'Connell (16) stop Butte receiver Kiley Caprara short of a first down on a third down in the second quarter. (Aaric Bryan/Daily Inter Lake)