Hawks bash Bulldogs for state title
by Danny Waldo
The ghosts of Naranche Stadium are no more after the Bozeman Hawks vanquished the Butte Bulldogs 42-28 to take home the 2019 Class AA state championship in Butte’s historic stadium.
Bozeman entered the title tilt with fresh memories of their last trip to Naranche for the state championship back in 2012. On that cold November night, Bozeman rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to take the lead 36-35 with 23 seconds remaining. Butte, however, had other plans as the Bulldogs received an advantageous kick return to put their high-powered offense in business, and three plays later the Bulldogs eeked a 46-yard field goal just over the crossbar to earn the 38-36 win.
There would be no such heroics this time around. Asher Croy made sure of that. The senior transfer from Huntley Project pounded out 333 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 33 carries to lead a punishing offensive attack that wore down the Bulldogs in the second half.
The two teams battled to a 14-14 tie at the end of the first half, and the game remained close until Bozeman went up seven near the end of the third quarter. The Hawks’ offense added another score early in the fourth to provide a 14-point lead before the defense essentially sealed the deal with Camren Spencer pick-six that put Bozeman up 35-14. Butte would add a pair of late touchdowns, but Asher Croy answered each time to keep the Bulldogs at bay.
The win was Bozeman’s fourth state championship of the decade, and their last as the single AA high school in Bozeman. Gallatin High School is set to open in the fall of 2020, and Bozeman’s talent pool will be split amongst the two schools, meaning this is Bozeman’s last unified state football championship. •