Butler Handles Hutchinson for Title

WICHITA, Kan. - The No.3-ranked Butler football team scored three touchdowns in less than six minutes in the fourth quarter on Sunday, propelling the Grizzlies to a 29-14 win over No. 15 Hutchinson in the Region VI championship game at Cessna Stadium.

The win puts Butler at 10-1 on the season and gives the Grizzlies their third straight Region VI championship.

Also with the win, and No. 1 Navarro’s 49-24 loss to Blinn on Saturday, the Grizzlies anticipate moving up a spot in the national rankings. If that happens, it’s likely Butler will travel to Salt Lake City for a rematch with Snow College to determine the national championship.

The Grizzlies scored first against Hutchinson, taking advantage when the Blue Dragons mishandled a snap on a punt attempt. Butler recovered the ball at the Hutchinson 11, and three plays later, Press Taylor ran five yards for a touchdown to make the score 7-0.

Hutchinson then took advantage of a Butler turnover, coming up with the ball when Edgard Theliar fumbled a punt return. The Blue Dragons then drove 32 yards in five plays, scoring on a two-yard run by La’Darrian Page to tie the game.

Butler got a 25-yard field goal near the end of the first quarter to take a 10-7 lead, and neither team scored in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, a 46-yard punt return by Gage McKinnis set Hutchinson up at Butler’s 18-yard line. Chris Clay ended that short drive with a 3-yard touchdown run and the Blue Dragons led 14-10.

Butler’s offense continued to struggle. On the last play of the third quarter, the Grizzlies faced a third-and-seven at their own 34-yard line. That’s when Taylor threw a pass to Tyrece Gaines for 36 yards, giving the Grizzlies momentum heading into the final quarter.

Butler took advantage, going ahead with a 14-yard touchdown run by Randell Bell. Even though the extra point was blocked, the Grizzlies led 16-14. Butler’s defense forced Hutch to punt, and on the Grizzlies’
next possession, Taylor threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Faron Hornes, and the lead grew to eight points at 22-14.

Butler then surprised Hutchinson with an onside kick, and with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Taylor to Theliar, the Grizzlies had their third score in less than six minutes, pushing the lead to the final margin of 29-14.

Butler finished the game with 317 yards of offense. Randell Bell had 23 carries for 94 yards, while Taylor completed 13 of 23 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

The Butler defense held Hutchinson in check, as the Blue Dragons managed just 100 yards of total offense on 56 plays. Page, Region VI Offensive Player of the Year who was averaging 126 yards rushing per game, managed just 82 yards on 25 carries against the Grizzlies.
Hutchinson quarterback Bryant Johnson completed just 5 of 13 passes for
39 yards.

Butler head coach Troy Morrell improves his record over nine seasons to 95-11. Butler has now has won 25 of its last 26 games dating back to 2006. The Grizzlies wrap up the 2008 regular season with their eighth straight Jayhawk Conference and their third straight Region VI championship, their fifth regional championship in the past six years.

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