GOAL – The defending Class AA champions will head to the playoffs as a seed.
Zac Crews scored a rushed and passing touchdown in the first half to give Missoula Sentinel a double-digit lead, and the Spartans resisted a furious rally from Butte High to outlast Bulldogs 28-14 on Thursday night at Naranche Stadium .
Sentinel, who has now won 18 straight games, ends the regular season 7-0 overall and 5-0 in West AA. The Spartans will get a first-round pass and play their first game of the playoffs on November 5.
Butte ends the regular season at 5-2 in West AA and 6-3 overall. The Bulldogs, already assured of a home playoff game, will know their exact standings once the dust settles on Friday night.
Crews opened the scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run on Sentinel’s first practice, a play set up by his 47-yard run that put the ball in the red zone.
The Spartans extended their lead to 14-0 with 3:29 left in the half on a 40-yard screen pass from Crews to Adam Jones.
Butte’s offense failed to score in the first half and saw practices end with an interception, fumble and a blocked basket.
The Bulldogs entered the board on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Jace Stenson to Cameron Gurnsey midway through the fourth quarter to reduce Sentinel’s lead to 28-7.
A few minutes later, the Bulldogs recovered a Sentinel fumble at the Spartan 5-yard line. Stenson then scored his second touchdown on a one-yard QB to reduce Sentinel’s lead to 28-14 with just under six minutes to go.
Butte then recovered a Sentinel punt on the Spartans’ 25-yard line with 3:30 to go. But the Bulldogs then fumbled, causing Sentinel to run out of time.