Beavers thump Maroons, 41-0

J.P. Plutt
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Dillon Beaver team members Cole Truman (left) and Connor Curnow head to the end zone celebration with Jonny Reiser after his TD reception. Resier’s score gave Dillon a 20-0 second quarter lead en route to a 41-0 victory for and a 3-0 record on the season. The Beavers head to Hamilton Friday night for a Western A Conference game versus the undefeated Broncs. J.P. Plutt photo

Dillon senior quarterback Jace Fitzgerald led the Beavers to a convincing 41-0 over Butte Central Friday night at Bob Green Field on the campus of Montana Tech, accounting for 378 total yards and five touchdowns.

“He wants to understand more of the game and he’s a real cereberal player,” said Dillon coach Zach McRae. “You put that on top of just being a phenomonal athlete and a guy that paid the price in the weight room and he’s experienced those results.”

The results for the dual threat quarterback Friday night included 11 carries for 94 yards and three touchdowns, and he completed 12 of 19 passes for 284 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Connor Curnow helped make the offensive efficiency possible. He started the pre-season in contention for the starting quarterback spot. When that didn’t fall his way, the coaches asked him to move to tight end, which he did without complaint. When Dillon’s top offensive lineman Carson McGinley went down last week with an ankle injury, Curnow moved to offensive guard and started and played every down versus Butte Central.

“Give Connor (6-1, 190) all the credit in the world,” said McRae. “To play guard for three days and go into Butte Central and have zero assignment errors, I think is a testament to how much he cares. We talk about being a Dillon Beaver and being all in and I just don’t know if there is a better example of that.”

In addition to his contributions on the offensive side, Curnow led the Beavers with 10 total stops from his inside linebacker position.

The receiver spotlight shined on Jonny Reiser and Jon Kirkley this week. Reiser hauled in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Fitzgerald in the second quarter, and totaled four receptions for 75 yards. Defensively, he is in a rotation with Kirkley and Cole Truman at the two outside linebacker spots. He connected on 5-of-6 extra point kicks at Butte.

Kirkley, a 6-1, 170-pound junior, adds speed and a physical running style after hauling in a pass. He opened the second half with a combination of those skills as he hauled in a short speed out and broke it 80 yards for a score.

“Jon is extremely competitive and he’s a big, strong receiver with speed so he’s not easy to tackle,” added McRae.

In game time, Kirkley’s score came just 14 seconds after sophomore cornerback Eli Nourse picked off a Butte Central pick and raced 46 yards to the end zone for a score as the clock ran out of first half time.

With just 7 seconds left in the first half and Butte Central in possession of the ball, the Maroons called a time-out and drew up a veer option play. The quarterback broke into Dillon’s second level of defense and looked to pitch the ball out to a teammate.

“Eli came up and read the QB pitch and intercepted the ball in mid-air and showed off his blazing speed to get into the end zone,” said McRae. “It was a cool coming out play for a sophomore to make a statement play right before halftime.

“It doesn’t matter who it is on our team that has success, the party in the end zone and on the sideline, showing how genuinely happy our players are for their teammates, is a testament to the team work we want to have.

Dillon’s defense is athletic and versatile and played an impressive game in pitching their second straight shutout.


Second Quarter

DIL – Jace Fitzgerald 1 run (Jonny Reiser kick), 10:08.

DIL – Jace Fitzgerald 1 run (Reiser kick failed), 00:31.

DIL – Reiser 3 pass from Fitzgerald (kick), 00:31.

DIL – Eli Nourse 46 fumble recovery (Reiser kick), 00:00.

Third Quarter

DIL – Jon Kirkley 80 pass from Fitzgerald (Reiser kick), 11:46.

DIL – Fitzgerald 12 run (Reiser kick), 5:01.

Team Stats


First downs 20 14

Rushes-yds (net) 23–140 30-142

Comp-Att-yds 13-20-291 13-28-119

Passes had int. 0 0

Total off plays-yds 43-431 58-261

Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1

Penalties-yds 2-15 3-25

Dillon Individual Stats

Rushing (att.–yds) – Michael Hupp 5-34, Jace Fitzgerald 11-94, Conner Vezina 5-15, Kale Konen 1-(-3), Kee Christiansen 1-0.

Passing (comp.-att.-INT-yds-TD) – Fitzgerald 12-19-0-284-2. Christiansen 1-1-0-7-0.

Receiving – Daxon Graham 1-41, Jonathan Kirkley 4-109, Jonny Reiser 4-75, Cole Truman 3-59. Connor Vezina 1-7.

Class A results

Western A Conference Week 3: Dillon (3-0) 41, Butte Central (0-3) 0. Frenchtown (2-1) 37, Corvallis (1-2) 6. Hamilton (3-0) 63, Stevensville (0-3) 0. Libby (3-0) 30, Ronan (1-2) 14. Polson (2-1) 18, Browning (0-3) 12. Whitefish (1-2) 21, Columbia Falls (2-1) 7.

Eastern A Conference Week 1: Billings Central (1-0) 21, Sidney (0-1) 18. Laurel (1-0) 42, Havre (0-1) 0. Miles City (1-0) 55, Glendive (0-1) 13. Lewistown (1-0) won by forfeit over Hardin (0-1) and played and defeated class B Bigfork, 22-14. Livingston, Lockwood (Billings), and East Helena are playing JV schedules this year. Hardin is currently sidelined due to COVID concerns.

Dillon fans will be allowed inside the fence at Hamilton game

As it stood Tuesday afternoon, Dillon fans will be able to attend the Hamilton football game Friday night at 7 p.m. According to Hamilton High School Activities Director Travis Blome, the policy that has been in place should be retained. The school district Board of Trustees were scheduled to meet Tuesday evening.

“I don’t anticipate anything changing for the visiting fans,” said Blome of the policy that allows each player passes for two relatives to attend the game.

Blome said BCHS Assistant Principal/Activities Director John English is in charge of dispersing the passes to the Dillon players. A relative can then gain entry to the game by presenting the pass at the ticket booth and purchasing a ticket to the game.

This will be the first away game that has allowed Dillon fans into the stadium. At both Frenchtown in the season opener and at Butte Central last week, visiting fans were not allowed into the games. Dillon allows visiting fans with a policy similar to the one in place at Hamilton.

Dillon fans have been undaunted so far. For the Frenchtown game, they contacted the owner of adjacent property to the football field and watched the game from the cow pasture. In Butte, the fans rented a banquet room in the Metals Bank restaurant and watched a video broadcast down the street from Montana Tech.

The outcome of the game between the two undefeated rivals will have a major impact of the Class A Football playoff bracket. The Western A champion will draw the lucky slot as host throughout the playoffs as long as they win.

The rivalry includes Hamilton head coach Bryce Carver, a former Dillon Beaver quarterback and BCHS graduate. At BCHS, the longtime offensive and defensive line coach is Brett Carver, the father of the Hamilton coach. Bryce is a good friend of all the members of the Dillon coaching staff.