Grizzlies can't convert in final minute of the game and fall to No. 9 Coffeyville

Grizzlies can't convert in final minute of the game and fall to No. 9 Coffeyville

The Butler Grizzlies dropped a heartbreaker at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex in El Dorado on Saturday night, failing to score on the final drive and ultimately losing to their archrivals, the Coffeyville Red Ravens, 19-14 in the 97th meeting between the two teams.

The final statline favored the Grizzlies, even if the final scoreline did not. The Grizzlies defense pretty much did everything they could do. Coffeyville had only nine first downs and were held to 48 offensive plays and 268 yards of offense. The Grizzlies outgained the Ravens by almost 100 yards. Butler put up their best time of possession of the season, holding possession of the ball for 35 minutes of game time. The Grizzlies held a 14-0 lead after the first quarter via touchdowns from Azhuan Dingle and AJ King.

They wouldn't score again, however. Coffeyville won the field position battle and forced key turnovers and were able to do just enough in the second half to get away with the victory. Down to their third string quarterback, Dillian Smith almost pulled off a heroic last second drive but wound up a yard short of the first down marker on fourth and 12 with just over a minute left in the game. And the Ravens ran out the clock from there.

Azhuan Dingle had a strong game before he also went down to injury, scoring the first touchdown of the game and dominating the Raven front line, finishing with 140 yards on just 24 carries. Jaisean McMillian replaced Dingle and also ran well, to the tune of 40 yards on nine carries. The Grizzlies totaled 189 yards of rushing. 

Smith and Jacobi Myers split quarterback duties in this one. Myers started well, and finished 8-12 with a touchdown and 127 yards. After Myers went down with an injury, Smith came in to a tough spot and produced, finishing 8-14 with 49 yards. AJ King was the favorite target on the night, finishing with five catches, 83 yards and a touchdown. 

"Smith played because he was prepared and as the game went on, he got more confident and he got better," said Head Coach Brice Vignery in the postgame presser. "As the game went on, he had that belief and the playbook opened up."

The Grizzlies fall to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in conference play. They play their final home game of the season next week, as the Dodge City Conquistadors come to town at 7:00pm at BG Stadium.

"These are the games you want to coach and you want to play," said Vignery. "Unfortunately, it just didn't swing our way tonight. This was your typical Coffeyville Butler game that came down to one posession and the final minute," commented Vignery. 

"We just have to keep getting better every single day. Keep understanding why we're doing it and keep putting one foot in front of the other," finished Vignery.