The Butler football team dropped their season opener Saturday night to an electrifying Independence team falling 50-28.
The first score for the Pirates came on a pass that the Grizzlies thought they had broken up, but a Pirate receiver was in the right place and picked the ball out of the air, leapt over a defender, and found the endzone and ESPN's top 10 plays Sunday morning.
Butler had an answer scoring on their first offensive possession moving the ball down the field in a hurry driving it 67-yards and capping it off with a 17-yard pass from freshman Jake Wolff to Darius Lassiter for the score. That would be all the scoring the Grizzlies would find in the first half.
Independence went onto score the next 21 points and took a 29-7 lead into half. The Grizzlies were unable to move the ball on the opening possession of the second half and were forced to punt. The Pirates took advantage of a shorter field and punched it for six more and the extra point, now leading 36-7.
Butler tried to fight their way back late with scores from Tyce Hoover and Darius Lassiter but ran out of time and possessions as the Pirates went onto win 50-28 and the first ever victory inside the confines of BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
All-conference returner Darius Lassiter (Lawrence, KS) sparked the Butler offense going for 132 yards on seven receptions and averaged 18.9 yards per catch. On the longest play from scrimmage on the night, Lassiter broke free of his defender and made a fingertip grab in the third quarter taking it 61-yards down to the three-yard line. He ended up finishing out that drive with a 3-yard touchdown reception.
Freshman quarterback Jake Wolff's 233 passing yards were the most passing yards in a game for a Butler quarterback since 2019, when Jack Samsel through for 268 yards against Hutch. Wolff is now the first Butler quarterback to throw for four touchdowns in a game since Trae Self did it in 2018 against Ellsworth.
Malik Berry led the way defensively for Butler with seven tackles while sophomore defensive back Chance Omli finished with six. Kevon Angry broke up two passes in the secondary and Blake Barron, MJ Cunningham and Najhay Calhoun each finished with a sack.
Butler (0-1, 0-1) will head to the defending National Champions Hutchinson on Saturday, September 11 for a 7:00pm kickoff from Gowans Stadium in Hutchinson. Hutchinson is coming off their first loss since the 2019 season as they fell 17-10 on the road to Coffeyville in week one.
NOTES: Butler still leads the all-time series now at 54-28-3. Butler's team total of 48 yards rushing is the fewest rushing yards in a game since the 2018 season. The Pirates have defeated the Grizzlies in the season opener the last two seasons. Butler has now lost three consecutive games to Independence. Grizzlies have lost three of their last four-season openers. Independence picks up their first win at BG Products Veteran Sports Complex