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Rendina, Pack surge past Bulldogs, 35-26

by Daily Inter Lake
| November 6, 2021 1:05 AM

BUTTE — What a difference a month makes.

Jake Rendina ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns, Jake Turner tore off a 44-yard scoring run and Glacier blocked an extra point in a 35-26 State AA football win over Butte Friday night.

Four weeks ago the Wolfpack (8-3) foundered under 19 penalties and lost to the Bulldogs 20-17 at Naranche Stadium. Friday Glacier had eight penalties and a lot more running room for Rendina, who had scoring runs of 5, 7 and 62 yards.

The Pack will play at defending champion Missoula Sentinel in the AA semifinals Friday.

Rendina’s 62-yard TD was crucial, coming just after Butte had tied the score 20-20 on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jace Stenson to Cameron Gurnsey.

“I thought it was a big one because it was an answer drive,” Glacier coach Grady Bennett said. “I felt like all night long we answered on offense, when we had to.

“In the meantime we foundered a little bit too much. We had opportunities to get a two-score lead or a three-score lead. But then the defense answered when we had to; we got stops when we had to.”

Safety Levi Frost had 13 tackles to lead a bendy, unbreakable bunch. Royce Conklin had 12 stops and an interception in the final minute, and fellow linebacker Wyatt Thomason had 12 tackles and blocked a PAT kick after Gurnsey — who had five catches for 158 yards — scored his second TD from 19 yards out.

That preserved a 27-26 lead with 3:02 left.

“Like I told the team, there’s some kids on this team I would go to battle with any day,” said Bennett, who noted Frost and Turner have been playing through injuries. “Jackson Barney stepped in at corner when Jake Turner was out and did a great job.”

Turner factored in when Glacier faced a third-and-2 from the Bulldogs’ 44: He took a handoff from Gage Sliter and got around the corner for the TD.

“We’d been pounding Jake Rendina (28 carries, nine coming on a 12-play drive that put Glacier up 14-13) so hard,” Bennett said. “It’s one of those plays where it's third and short and we had three tight ends in the game, and so there were probably 20 people in the box. We thought instead of letting Jake carry it, let’s let him lead-block. Luke Bilau and Rendina threw huge blocks.”

After a Butte penalty, Rendina ran in the two-point PAT to give Glacier a two-score lead with 1:25 left.

Sliter was 7-for-17 passing for 112 yards, including an 18-yard scoring strike to Bilau on the first drive of the second half. The PAT kick was blocked, leaving Glacier ahead 20-13.

Stenson was a handful, running 107 yards and one score and throwing for 306 yards, with those two strikes to Gurnsey.

“That’s a matchup against our best defensive back, Connor Sullivan,” Bennett noted. “And Connor was right where he needed to be and they were just great, great catches. Cameron is a great player.”

Sullivan had three catches for a team-high 62 yards. Sliter ran for 54 yards.

“I’m really proud of how our team responded, coming in here and playing in his atmosphere,” Bennett said. “What a great place to play. … I’m really proud of that turnaround.”

Sentinel, 9-0 after beating Great Falls 35-0 Friday, beat the Pack 29-21 on Sept. 17.

“Another opportunity there,” Bennett said. “ We played pretty well the first time, and had them on the ropes. Same thing: We just want to go play well and have a shot. You have a shot in the fourth quarter, that's all you can ask for.”

Glacier 0 14 13 8 - 35

Butte 6 7 7 6 - 26

B — Casey Kautzman 22 FG, 8:00-1Q

B — Kautman 22 FG, 4:38-1Q

G — Jake Rendina 5 run (Rhett Measure kick), 11:56-2Q

B — Jace Stenson 8 run (Kautzman kick), 4:29-2Q

G — Rendina 7 run (Measure kick), :47-2Q

G — Luke Bilau 22 pass from Gage Sliter (kick failed), 10:30-3Q

B — Cameron Gurnsey 18 pass from Stenson (Kautzman kick), 1:55-3Q

G — Rendina 62 run (Measure kick), :55-3Q

B — Guernsey 19 pass from Stenson (kick blocked), 3:02-4Q

G — Jake Turner 44 run (Rendina run), 1:25-4Q

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Glacier (42-353) — Rendina 29-228, Turner 3-67, Sliter 5-54, Kash Goicoechea 2-6, Connor Sullivan 1-6, Team 2-minus 8. BUTTE (36-169) — Stenson 14-107, Gavin Vetter 18-53, Dylan Snyder 3-12, Kenley Leary 1-minus 3.

PASSING: Glacier — Sliter 7-17-0 for 112 yards. Butte — Stenson 16-32-1 for 306 yards.

RECEIVING: Glacier — Sullivan 3-62, Bilau 1-22, Turner 1-16, Rendina 1-7, Tate Kauffman 1-5. Butte — Guernsey 5-158, Jonas Sherman 4-38, Snyder 3-66, Cole Worley 3-37, Leary 1-7.

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