High School Football

Westwood assistant named football coach at Great Falls

Watch: Westwood shuts out South Aiken

Highlights and postgame reaction from Westwood coach Dustin Curtis following Redhawks' 29-0 win over South Aiken.
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Highlights and postgame reaction from Westwood coach Dustin Curtis following Redhawks' 29-0 win over South Aiken.

Westwood defensive coordinator Tom Butler has been named football coach at Great Falls.

Butler replaces Scotty Steen, who was let go in March. The move was officially approved Thursday at a school board meeting.

“Opportunity to be a head coach is something I always wanted. Been bridesmaid a few times this offseason,” Butler said. “But the principal and athletic director at Great Falls really want to win and make things work with the football classes, seven-on-sevens and trying to compete with the Lamars of Class A.”

This will be Butler’s first head coaching job but he has been an assistant at several stops throughout the state. He spent time eight years at Greenwood. After that, he went to Wilson and then West Florence before taking Blythewood defensive coordinator job in 2017. The Bengals gave up just 88 points that season.

Butler was at Westwood this season and the Redhawks’ defense gave up just 16 points a game.

All of Butler’s previous stops were at Class 4A and 5A schools and he hopes to bring those things learned at bigger schools to Great Falls.

“Our kids deserve the way big schools do it. We got smaller numbers but the kids need the same work and try to get seven-on-sevens, go visit college camps that other schools do,” Butler said. “Been a part of rebuilds at Wilson and West Florence. Learned a lot from that experiences and the coaches I have worked with.”

Great Falls went 19 games without a win over the course of two seasons, before Steen helped the Red Devils to a 4-6 record this past fall, including a first victory over rival Lewisville in five years. The Red Devils lost their final three games of the season -- all Region 2-A games -- by a combined 121-0 point total, and missed the playoffs.

Butler inherits a team that graduates just three seniors and should return standout wide receiver Kelton Talford and quarterback D.J. Adams.

“Whoever gets to coach these guys next year, they’re gonna be delighted. They’ve worked their butts off in spring so far,” Steen said in March. “Great Falls is gonna be back on the map, baby.”

Butler agrees.

“I have watched parts of Great Falls games and they got some athletes,” Butler said. “It is going to be a learning curve for me and the players but I am looking forward to the opportunity.”

Butler will finish the year teaching at Westwood but will spend plenty of time at Great Falls and conduct spring practice.

Anthony Cunningham Jr., a varsity football player, also plays baritone horn in the marching band. The Great Falls High School junior performs at home halftime games in his football jersey and shoulder pads.

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