DILLON — A total of 66 miles separate Class A’s Dillon High School (2-1) and Butte Central High School (0-3), but 26 points separated the Beavers and Maroons Friday night at Vigilante Field.
Dillon claimed a 33-7 victory to win their second straight game, primarily led by an impressive performance by senior quarterback Justus Peterson, who ended his night with a pair of passing touchdowns, a pair of rushing touchdowns and 284 total yards.
“[Peterson] continues to make strides as a quarterback,” said Beavers head coach Zach McRae. “He’s always been a great leader, a guy that our team follows. Tonight he showed up in a big way, and I’m proud of him for sticking to the process and getting better every day.”
Before Peterson’s night got up and running, the Beavers found themselves down a touchdown. Central senior QB Thomas McGree led an impressive opening drive, capitalizing with a two-yard touchdown run to open up the scoring.
McGree, who played with a broken left hand sustained in the season opener against Hamilton, finished with 130 total yards, the sole Central touchdown, and two interceptions. Peterson had nothing but compliments for his fellow quarterback.
“He’s an awesome kid,” Peterson said. “A good quarterback and a great athlete, and he’s got a great coaching staff as well, they’re good. They came to compete today and that’s what we want.”
While Peterson didn’t throw an interception, he did cough up the football twice, with the Beavers turning over possession three times via fumbles. Dillon also had nine penalties, which showed there is still plenty of work to be done for the Beavers.
“We’ll have to fix the penalties,” McRae said. “But the one thing we have to fix is the turnovers. We’re turning it over too many times, and great teams don’t do that. Some of those could’ve resulted in points and that’s not okay, we have to improve.”
The Beavers can be happy with the victory though, rebounding well after a double-overtime 27-24 loss in Week 1 to Frenchtown with consecutive victories against Stevensville and Central.
However, Dillon will look to handle those issues quickly. The Beavers will likely face their hardest test of the season next Friday, with state runner-ups Hamilton coming to town.
As for Maroons head coach Don Peoples and his team, the question now is how to move forward. A daunting start to the season is now over, but not without Central going winless in their first three games. According to Peoples, the only way forward is to regroup and keep trying.
“We’re disappointed by the way it turned out tonight,” Peoples said. “But our kids fought to the end… We’ll regroup. Arguably, we’ve played the three best teams in western Class A. We’ll just have to keep fighting.”
Central hosts Corvallis (1-2) this upcoming Friday at Bob Green Field.