BUTTE — The reigning Class AA champions will head into the postseason as a top seed.
Zac Crews scored a rushing and passing touchdown in the first half to give Missoula Sentinel a double-digit lead, and the Spartans held off a furious late rally from Butte High to outlast the Bulldogs 28-14 on Thursday night at Naranche Stadium.
Sentinel, which has now won 18-straight games, concludes the regular season at 7-0 overall and 5-0 in Western AA play. The Spartans will get a first-round bye and play their first game of the playoffs on Nov. 5.
Butte wraps up the regular season at 5-2 in the Western AA and 6-3 overall. The Bulldogs, already guaranteed a home playoff game, will know their exact seeding after the dust settles Friday night.
Crews opened the scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run on Sentinel's opening drive, 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 remaining in the half on a 40-yard screen pass from Crews to Adam Jones.
Butte's offense didn't score in the first half and saw drives end on an interception, fumble and blocked field goal.
The Bulldogs got on the board on an 8-yard touchown pass from Jace Stenson to Cameron Gurnsey midway through the fourth quarter to trim 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 1-yard QB sneak to narrow Sentinel's lead to 28-14 with just under six minutes remaining.
Butte then recovered a tipped Sentinel punt on the Spartans' 25-yard line with 3:30 remaining in the game. But the Bulldogs then fumbled, allowing Sentinel to run out the clock.