Grizzlies hold off late surge from Conquistadors, win 30-20

Grizzlies hold off late surge from Conquistadors, win 30-20

The Butler football team picked up their second win of the season with a 30-20 victory over a scrappy Dodge City team Saturday night under the lights of BG Products Veterans Sports Complex. 

"There was nothing easy about this game," said head coach Tim Schaffner, "It was a grind it out and survive type of game. Dodge City has been right there in their prior two games so I am not shocked at all about this Dodge City team, they are a good team and will win some games."

Butler struck early as they scored their first defensive touchdown of the season off an MJ Cunningham pick six on Dodge City's opening drive of the game. Cunningham read the quarterbacks eyes the entire way and picked off CJ Ward at the Dodge City 22-yard line and took it into the endzone for the score. 

Dodge City settled in on their next possession driving 8-yards in under two minutes finding the endzone off a three-yard run by Tyler Curtis.

It was then Dodge City's defense who came up big on the ensuring possession as Gavin Screws didn't see the Dodge corner lurking throwing a pass that was picked off by Thadius Harris who turned on the jets and went 74-yards for the touchdown, Dodge City now led 14-7 late in the first.

The Grizzlies weren't fazed as they marched the ball down the field on their next drive going 87-yards in 11 plays and Adarius Thomas broke free of the line of scrimmage and took it 34-yards for the score tying the game up at 14 each. 

Both teams settled in, and the scoring was halted most of the second quarter up until KJ Shankle ran it in from six-yards out giving Butler a 21-14 lead with 1:28 remaining in the half, a lead they would carry into the break.

After a few three and outs from both teams, the Grizzlies had the ball on their own 30-yard line. Darius Lassiter, who had 14-receptions in the first two games, had yet to catch a pass in the game but that was quickly changed as Gavin Screws launched one in the air to the streaking Lassiter who made an over the shoulder catch, shrugged off his defender and scored a 70-yard touchdown, his sixth of the season. The Carson Arndt kick was good and Butler lead 28-14. 

"We have been blessed with some great receivers over the year," commented Schaffner, "and to have a player like Darius (Lassiter), man he is a great weapon to have."

Dodge managed to put together a drive after falling behind two scores, as they drove the ball 63-yards on 11 plays and capped it off with another Tyler Curtis rushing touchdown with 3:13 to play in the third quarter with Butler leading 28-20.

Dodge City had three more opportunities in the fourth quarter, but the Butler defense came up big when they needed to. The Grizzlies got a big stop on fourth down early in the quarter, forced a punt and then, Norman Massey broke free of his blocker sacking the quarterback in the endzone coming up with the safety in the final minute of the game to put it away.

"This was a crucial game to refocus and get the win," mentioned Schaffner, "especially after coming off a win like we had last week at Hutch. Making sure the players refocus and take care of business against Dodge was a huge for us heading into the bye week." 

Butler finished with 383 yards of total offense, 212 through the air and another 171 on the ground. They held the Conqs to just 241 yards of total offense, 104 passing and 137 rushing yards. Butler is averaging 376 yards per game offensively and scoring 33.7 points per game. 

Gavin Screws, getting his first start of the season, completed 7-14 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown. Adarius Thomas carried the ball 18 times for 65 yards and a touchdown while KJ Shankle had 10 carries for 49 yards and a score and another 76-yards receiving on two receptions. Darius Lassiter had two receptions for 81-yards and a touchdown.

Dodge City converted on just two of seven third-down opportunities as the Butler defense buckled in when they needed to. Nickendre Stiger led the way with eight tackles in the game with a sack for an eight-yard loss and a pass breakup. Malik Berry added in seven tackles. Kam'Ron Green and Norman Massey both recorded a sack and Green had another tackle for loss in the game. MJ Cunningham had the interception returned for a touchdown, four tackles and one tackle for a loss. Kevon Angry finished the game with two pass breakups. 

Butler, 2-1 overall, head into their bye week and will start preparations for longtime rival Coffeyville (2-0) to come to town on Saturday, October 2nd for a 7:00pm kickoff.

Notes: Butler leads overall series vs Dodge (56-31-1)...Butler is 31-2 against Dodge since the 1995 season...Butler has not lost to Dodge in Dodge since 1995... 20 points allowed is the fewest since the spring season when they held Highland to seven in a 34-7 victory…