BUTLER WINS NJCAA TITLE

SANDY, Utah - College football crowned its first national champion of the 2008 season on Saturday as Butler Community College (Kan.) defeated Snow College (Utah) 37-30 in double overtime in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) title game at the Zions Bank Top of the Mountain Bowl.

Over 8,000 fans were in attendance to watch the event, which was the first-ever American football game to be played in the newly opened Rio Tinto Stadium located just outside of Salt Lake City.

The win marked Butler's second consecutive national title. They defeated Snow in last year's Top of the Mountain Bowl 56-27 to clinch a share of the 2007 national championship with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

When the buzzer sounded at the end of the fourth quarter the two teams were deadlocked at 23-23, forcing the first overtime period in a NJCAA sanctioned national championship football game. 

Both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime to move the contest into a second extra period. Butler then took the first possession and opted to attempt a 40-yard field goal on 4th down, but the kick was blocked by Snow. However, in a bizarre turn of events the ball was touched by a Snow player and then rolled into the endzone where it was recovered by Butler's Demonte Hill for a touchdown. Logan Ortiz kicked the extra point to give Butler a 37-30 lead.

Snow then looked to again tie the game and force a third overtime, but on their first play Jon Eastman’s pass was intercepted by Forlando Johnson to seal the win for Butler.

Butler controlled the game early taking a 20-7 halftime lead behind two scores from running back Randell Bell and a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown by Laron Scott.

However, the second half belonged to Snow as they scored 16 second half points while holding the Grizzlies to just a field goal. Snow wide receiver posted a big game for the Badgers catching eight passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

Eastman led the Badgers on a 10-play drive late in the fourth quarter capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Mike Meifu to tie the game at 23-23.

Snow out-gained the Grizzlies 401-380 in total offense, but four turnovers that Butler turned into 14 points proved costly for the Badgers. For the game, Eastman completed 19-of-31 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns, but also had three interceptions. Running back Tyson Church rushed for 96 yards on 20 carries and also had a touchdown.

Isi Filimoeatu led the Badger defense with eight tackles, including two tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.

Butler was led offensively by Bell who rushed for 86 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns, while quarterback Press Taylor completed 20-of-32 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Egard Theliar led the Grizzlies with three receptions for 93 yards, while Faron Hornes had six catches for 76 yards and a score.

Zac Taylor was the defensive leader for Butler. He posted four tackles and two sacks, but consistently busted through the Snow offensive line to put pressure on Eastman.

Butler has now twice won back-to-back national championships. They won titles in 1998 and 1999 and have 6 national championships overall, including five in the past 11 years (1981, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2008).

NOTES:

*The Zion Bank Top of the Mountain Bowl named game MVPs for both teams. Wide receiver Sam Thomas and linebacker Isu Filimoeatu earned the honors for Snow, while running back Randell Bell and linebacker Zac Taylor were the MVPs for Butler.

*Snow and Butler entered the contest ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the NJCAA / JC Football.com Poll.

* 2008 marked the third time in the five year history of the Top of the Mountains Bowl that Butler and Snow have faced off. Snow won the first match-up in 2005 17-14, while Butler won last year’s contest 56-27 which clinched a share of the 2007 national title for the Grizzlies.

Snow-Butler, Stats
Snow               7          0          2          14        23       
Butler               7          13        3          0          23
Overtime 1
Snow               7          30
Butler               7          30
Overtime 2
Snow               0          30
Butler               7          37

First Quarter
But - Bell 2-yard run (Ortiz kick)
Sno - Church 2-yard run (Phillips kick)
Second Quarter
But - Scott 39-yard INT return (kick blocked)
But - Bell 1-yard run (Ortiz kick)
Third Quarter
Sno - Blocked punt for safety
But Otriz 24-yard field goal
Fourth Quarter
Sno - Thomas 10-yard pass from Eastman (Phillips kick)
Sno - Miefu 2-yard run (Phillips kick)

Overtime 1
Sno - Thomas 24-yard pass from Eastman (Phillips kick)
But - Hornes 14-yard pass from Tayler (Ortiz kick)

Overtime 2
But - Hill recovered blocked field goal (fumble) in end zone (Ortiz kick)


                                    Snow               Butler
First Downs                  18                    20
Rushes-yards                34-145             42-97
Passing yards                256                  283
Return yards                 103                  45
Comp-Att-INT            19-31-3           20-32-0
Punts                            3-127               2-79
Fumbles-lost                 3-1                   3-2
Penalties-yards             9-69                 6-37
Time of Possession       30:49               29:11

Individual Statistics
RUSHING - Snow, Church 20-96, Eastman 6-19, Meifu 3-13, Buck 1-8, McKenzie 2-5, Thomas 1-3, Schrader 1-1. Butler, Bell 22-86, Taylor 12-5, Hubbard 6-4, Jacques 1-2, Hamm 1-0.
PASSING - Snow, Eastman 19-31-2 256. Butler, Taylor 20-32-1 283.
RECEIVING - Snow, Thomas 8-151, Buck 4-66, Church 3-19, Ogbonna 2-13, Hatch 1-6, Meifu 1-1. Butler, Theilar 3-93, Hornes 6-76, Gaines 5-56, Bell 2-31, Davis 3-18, Williams 1-9.
FIELD GOALS - Butler, Ortiz 24.
MISSED FIELD GOALS - Snow, Phillips 42. Butler, Ortiz 34.


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