The Butler Grizzlies could not overcome a late deficit as they fell to the No. 2-ranked Hutchinson Blue Dragons, 27-16, in a battle of the two top teams in the Jayhawk Conference at Gowans Stadium on Saturday night.
The Grizzlies couldn't overcome a combination of 12 penalties and the Blue Dragon rushing attack, as Butler falls to 3-2 on the year and 3-1 in conference play and fall two games back in the all-time series with the Blue Dragons now 48-50-1.
It was the Carson Ardnt show early in the game as the Grizzlies stalled out on their first few possessions sending in the sophomore kicker to try and get points on the board. Arndt was clutch making a 40-yarder and 46-yarder in the first quarter to give Butler the 6-0 lead.
The Blue Dragons would find the endzone early in the second quarter off a 23-yard run by Dylan Kedzior, his first of four touchdowns on the night. A blocked extra point had the game tied 6-6 early in the second.
Butler had an immediate answer to the Hutchinson score as Jaisean McMillian scored the only touchdown of the night for Butler, giving the Grizzlies the lead with a three-yard touchdown run with 11:38 left in the second quarter.
It was a heavy scoring quarter as Hutchinson would score two more times before the half, both Dylan Kedzior, one through the air and one on the ground. Carson Arndt made his third field goal on the night, this time a 32-yarder with three minutes remaining. The teams would head into the locker room with Hutchinson leading Butler 20-16.
The scoring was, for the most part, halted in the second half for both teams with Hutchinson taking a 27-16 lead with 5:09 left in the third quarter as Kedzior scored his fourth of the night. Carson Arndt made a 22-yard field goal with 7:33 remaining in the game as the Grizzlies pulled within eight.
A late blocked field goal gave the Grizzlies a chance with just over a minute left to play, but they just didn't have enough time on the clock to pull it off, as a late fumble cemented the defeat for Butler.
The Grizzlies accounted for 423 total yards of offense with 271 yards coming through the air. Quarterback Jake Wolff went 23-41 passing and Jeremiah Payton led the Grizzlies with five receptions for 92 yards. On the ground, it was Azhuan Dingle and Jaisean McMillian who led the way for the Grizzlies on the ground. Dingle had 11 carries for 59 yards while McMillian finished with seven carries for 55 yards and a touchdown, with a long of 43.
Mason Thrash led the Grizzlies with 10 tackles defensively, and AJ Moss provided a clutch forced fumble in the second half. The Grizzlies had a nice night on special teams, as Carson Ardnt accounted for 13 of the 16 Butler points, with field goal lengths of 40, 46, 32 and 22. The Grizzlies also blocked an extra point and a field goal, Caylen Lowery getting the block on the extra point and Caleb Brown keeping the game alive with his field goal block with 1:13 left in the game.
Butler will return home next week, as they host McDougal Technical Institute (FL) next week in a game that was postponed from September 24th. The game is set to kickoff at 11:00am at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.