A second-half surge by the Hamilton Broncs spoiled the season opener for the Bulldogs on Friday.
After going into the locker room at halftime down 14-0, Whitefish got on the board after Mark Anderson connected with Carver Gilman for a 51-yard touchdown to get the Dogs within seven.
Gilman added a 37-yard field goal in the fourth, but Hamilton’s offense found its spark again and put Whitefish away 36-10.
Head coach Chad Ross said he was pleased with his team, despite the final score.
“Obviously we lost, but right now we’re so much better than we were at the beginning of last year,” he said. “We were a little out of shape toward the end of the game, but we’re going to get better there.”
Ross also said he’s happy with the play of his two quarterbacks, Anderson and Chad Queen.
It’ll take another game to decide who’s getting the starting job, he said, but he was impressed with how both players performed against Hamilton.
Anderson went 7 for 11 passing for 115 yards and a touchdown while Queen went 8 of 11 for 41 yards.
“I think we threw for more yards in this game than we did the last three games last season,” he said. “They both played pretty well.”
While 36 points isn’t something the defense can hang its hat on right now, the Bulldogs did come away with three fumble recoveries and an interception.
Fighting off fatigue late in future games will be key for his defense moving forward, Ross said.
“Hamilton was a really good team and we played them tight for three quarters,” Ross said. “At the end it was big plays. In the second half we got tired. So we can do a little better as coaches and rotate our kids more. Big plays in the third and fourth quarter made the difference.”
Whitefish will host Frenchtown Friday at Memorial Field at 7 p.m.
Frenchtown last season went 8-3, including 3-2 in Southwest A conference play, and made the playoffs.
They opened their season with a 53-0 throttling of Timber Lake on Friday.
Ross says cleaning up early-season mental mistakes will be the key for his team moving forward.
“They have a great running back, he’s only a sophomore. But we have to limit our own mistakes,” he said. “On defense we jumped offsides three times to give up first teams. Good teams don’t beat themselves. If we clean up some of that, it should be a good ballgame.”
Whitefish 0 0 7 3 — 10
Hamilton 0 14 8 14 — 36
H — Caden Brown 4 pass from Carson Rostad (kick failed) H — Michael Golden 2 run (Golden run)
W — Carver Gilman 51 pass from Mark Anderson (Gilman kick)
H — Tyler Barnes 4 pass from Rostad (Barnes kick)
H — Barnes 9 pass from Rostad (Barnes kick)
W — Gilman 37 field goal
H — Rostad 15 run (Barnes kick)