Story by: Kalon Fullerton
The Brice Vignery era started with a successful season as the Grizzlies earned seven victories, their most since 2019, and that success was reflected as 24 Grizzlies earned post season honors; three all conference first team members, five second team, in addition to 16 players who received honorable mention.
Running back Azhuan Dingle and Wide Reciever AJ King received first team all conference honors on offense, and AJ King also received first team honors in special teams. Linebackers Malik Berry, Mason Thrash and Norman Massey were honored on second team defense while Quavez Humphreys and Quarterback Jake Wolff were nominated for second team offense.
Azhaun Dingle transferred to El Dorado from Tyler JC and made an immediate impact. The New Jersey native scored three touchdowns to knock off Garden City in the first game of the season and was just as good the rest of the year. He rushed for over 1,000 yards on the season, finishing with 1,030 yards. His 17 touchdowns puts him at seventh all time for Butler, tying with his running back coach, Dreamius Smith, who also scored 17 times in a season in 2012. He scored four touchdowns in the final game of the regular season against Ellsworth which is fifth all time in program history, just behind Mike Lathan who had five and Grizzly great Rudi Johnson who scored six times in a game in 1999.
AJ King was a nightmare for defenses every time he touched the ball, and he did it in a variety of ways. He earns the honor of being the only player in the league to receive all conference nods on both offense and special teams. King earned 53 receptions, which put him at fourth all time for the Grizzlies, and tallied 816 yards of offense, scoring eight receiving touchdowns. He earned more than 100 yards in four of his 10 games, including a stunning 158 yard performance against Snow College, the most for a reciever since Michael Gallup earned 184 yards in one game against Dodge City in 2014. He was a return nightmare as well, earning four punt and kickoff returns of more than 20 yards, he scored an 82 yard touchdown off a punt return against Snow, and he set up a touchdown with a 68 yard trot against Iowa Central.
An injury cut Quavez Humphreys' season short, but he still made an impact on the Jayhawk Conference in his four games this season. He finished with 18 receptions and 312 yards and five touchdowns, scoring two touchdowns against both Garden City and Snow College.
An injury took away Jake Wolff's first season last year, but he returned as one of the best quarterbacks in the country, despite being knocked out of three games at the end of the season. His 1,718 yards was ranked 11th in the nation, while his 13 touchdowns was good enough for 12. He threw for 303 yards in a game against Highland, making him the 12th quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in a game in Butler history. He finished with a completion percentage of 56% which put him at 18th in the nation.
Mason Thrash, Norman Massey and Malik Berry were unexpendable members of the Butler Grizzlies squad. All three are linebackers, and all three returned for a third year of junior college football in El Dorado, putting themselves as emotional leaders of this Grizzly team. All three are Kansas natives.
Thrash, out of McPherson, earned 64 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 11 games in his final season.
Berry, who came to El Dorado from Lawrence, starred defensively this season, earning 49 tackles and two sacks, picking off a pass and returning it for a touchdown against McDougal, and also forcing a fumble that set up a tying touchdown to force overtime in the game against Snow.
Norman Massey was a physical presence, as the Wichita native forced 49 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions which was fifth in the Jayhawk Conference. He returned an interception against Iowa Central 85 yards for a touchdown in what would be a pivotal play in the victory against the Tritons.
In addition, Kicker Carson Ardnt, Cornerback Caleb Brown, Center Isiah Bunn, Defensive End Caleb Foster, Offensive Tackle Kareem Harden, Tight End John Thomas Jones, Running Backs Dorian Lewis and Jaisean McMillian, Offensive Guards Aiden Logan and Matthew Beyer, Defensive Tackles Caylen Lowry, Isiah Walker and Ugo Nosike, Wide Receivers Jaelon Travis and Jeremiah Payton, Fullback Mason Ross and Punter Adam Young all received honorable mention All Conference honors.
This is the most All-Conference players the Grizzlies have had in a number of years, beating last years All-Conference total of 20 players.