Butler rolls over Dodge City in Region VI semifinal, 59-10

Butler rolls over Dodge City in Region VI semifinal, 59-10

EL DORADO, Kan. – The Butler football team has advanced to the Region VI championship game for the sixth consecutive season and 13th time in the past 14 years after winning its semifinal matchup over Dodge City by a 59-10 score on Sunday afternoon at Galen Blackmore Stadium.

"Overall, coming off a bye week, I thought we did pretty well," Butler coach Troy Morrell said. "I thought our guys did some things well. There were some things we obviously have to do better, but overall, I was just happy to get out of here with a good win, make some big plays and score a lot of points."

The 59 points is the fourth-highest output this season for Butler, only behind the 89 scored at Highland, 66 scored at Dodge City in the regular season matchup and 63 scored at Independence.

Butler was caught off guard when Dodge City recovered an onside kick to start the game. The Grizzlies, however, held Dodge City's offense and forced a punt. Butler's first drive resulted in a Chandler Whitmer interception.

Butler's next drive, though, would end in a touchdown on an impressive 6-yard run by Jasper Sanders in which he made six would-be tacklers miss on the play.

Butler would get its second touchdown later in the quarter, following an interception by Zach Miller. That set up a short drive capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Whitmer to Neil Shortell that made the score 14-0.

Butler would score 24 points in the second quarter, getting two long touchdown passes from Whitmer to Kendall Wrenn. The first was a 78-yard catch-and-run on a slant pattern, while the second was a classic long bomb that went for 97 yards, one of the longest scoring plays in Butler history.

The other scores included a 73-yard touchdown run by Dreamius Smith and a 32-yard field goal by Connor Frazell as Butler led 38-3 at the half.

Butler scored early in the third quarter, when defensive end Demarcus Lawrence picked up a Dodge City fumble and ran 27 yards for a touchdown that made it 45-3. At that point, Butler's defense had scored more touchdowns this season (five), than it had allowed (four).

Dodge City changed that by scoring a touchdown on a 2-yard pass from Aaron Hansen to Logan Stephens with 10:18 left in the third quarter. It marked the first time in more than two months (a span of 30 quarters over eight games) than an opposing offense had scored a touchdown against the Butler defense.

Butler would go on to score two more touchdowns in the game, both by running back Derrick Thomas, to set the final margin.

Thomas would lead Butler in rushing with 17 carries for 116 yards and the two touchdowns. The big stat of the day was the receiving yardage by Kendall Wrenn. The wide receiver caught six passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns, all of that coming in the first half alone. It is his fifth straight game with more than 100 yards receiving. Meanwhile, quarterback Chandler Whitmer completed 14 of 27 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.

Butler is now 9-1 on the season, having won nine straight after a season-opening loss to Navarro (Texas). The Grizzlies will meet Hutchinson in the title game next Sunday at Galen Blackmore Stadium. The Blue Dragons advanced by winning their semifinal game over Coffeyville by a 45-16 score.

"Our number one thing will be to get guys healed up; we had a lot of guys banged up in this one," Morrell said. "We've just got to regroup, get ourselves right and get ready to play for a championship next week."