Maroons return to Naranche. Yes, Naranche.
Historically speaking, the Butte Central Maroons have had pretty good results at historic Naranche Stadium on the campus of Butte High School. The last time the Maroons varsity suited up for a game there, it was the fall of 1972 and they would win a State Championship that season. In the time since, the stadium has been condemned, rebuilt, resurfaced and remodeled and now stands as one of the finest high school facilities in Montana. It has also hosted a pair of State Championship games for it's usual purple-and-white tenants, the Bulldogs, who back in 2012 raised the State AA trophy on the heels of a kick that even Maroon fans look back upon fondly. The Maroons home field is now up on the hill at Montana Tech but due to a technical issue was unavailable for Butte Central's home opener against the Polson Pirates last Friday night.
Enter Naranche Stadium.
Tudo Stagnoli was the quarterback for the Butte Central Maroons from 1962 to 1964. And not just any quarterback. His skills were a big part of why the Maroons won the State Championship in 1964 and in true Butte fashion his fond memories are gritty. "I loved the dirt,' Stagnoli said. "I wasn't a lineman, but a lot of the linemen on the other side of the ball ate a lot of dirt," The dirt has since been replaced by the type of high-tech performance turf fitting of a stadium of it's history and beauty, which Stagnoli pointed out is a lot faster than the surfaces his team played on.
Speed ultimately may have been the difference as the fourth-ranked Pirates showed a lot of it in running past the Maroons 49-14. Although the score was lopsided, there were flashes of potential brilliance in the Jack Keeley-to-Kyle Holter combination on offense and stellar play by Riley Gelling and the brothers Canyon and Cayden Kibler on defense. The Maroons will look to bounce back this Friday night as they return to Bob Green Field on the campus of Montana Tech to face the Browning Indians.