The Butler football team will play for a Region VI championship after a 58-17 win over Garden City on Sunday afternoon in the semifinal round at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
The No. 2-ranked Grizzlies will host No. 16 Hutchinson (8-2) next Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the title game. Garden City's season ends with a 6-4 record under second-year head coach Jeff Tatum.
Butler advanced to the finals after pulling away from Garden City in the second half, scoring 28 points in the third quarter to break open a somewhat close contest.
The Grizzlies scored first on a 58-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Billy Cosh to Jacob Hurla, who made a one-handed catch in the middle of the field and outran the Broncbuster defenders to the end zone.
Garden City would get on the board with a 33-yard field goal by Tyler Peterson with 3:11 left in the first quarter that made it a 7-3 contest.
Butler would score twice in the second quarter – one on a 45-yard run by Derrick Thomas on a draw play and the other on a second touchdown pass between Cosh and Hurla that went for 33 yards – that put the Grizzlies up 21-3.
Garden City would score just before the half on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Nick Marshall to Rodriguez Coleman and the Broncbusters trailed 21-10 at the break.
Garden City would get the ball to start the second half. When the drive stalled out near midfield, the Broncbusters tried a fake punt but the pass play was stopped short. Two plays later, Butler tried a fake play of its own with a hook-and-ladder that went for a touchdown. Billy Cosh threw a short pass to Javess Blue who pitched the ball to Dreamius Smith who ran the final 38 yards into the end zone for a 28-10 Butler lead.
Despite the sudden turn of events, Garden City still had an answer. Quarterback Nick Marshall capped a 75-yard scoring drive with a twisting run into the end zone to make it 28-17.
Butler would come back quickly with a 55-yard touchdown run by Derrick Thomas and the Grizzlies had doubled up Garden City by a 35-17 score. The Broncbusters would not score again.
Instead, Butler widened the margin, first with a 1-yard touchdown run by Terrence Allen. That was followed up 18 seconds later by a defensive touchdown when Ufomba Kamalu knocked the ball away from Marshall on a sack and fell on the ball in the end zone.
Butler's final score came on a 6-yard touchdown run by Ty Suggs early in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies got their final two points when Branden Dozier blocked a Garden City punt with 6:59 left in the game. The Broncbusters covered the loose ball in the end zone, giving Butler a safety.
Individually, Billy Cosh completed 12 of 20 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Javess Blue had six catches for 84 yards while Jacob Hurla caught two passes for 91 yards. Butler had two 100-plus yard rushers. Derrick Thomas had 115 yards on just seven carries while Terrence Allen had 11 carries for 106 yards.
Defensively, Butler held Garden City to just 296 yards of total offense in the game. Butler is the only team this season to hold the Broncbusters under 300 yards of offense, having done it both in the regular season game and in the playoffs. The 17 points is most Butler has allowed this year, but Morrell was very pleased with the defensive performance.
"They did a great job," Morrell said. "Garden City has a tremendous offense that is averaging over 500 yards a game. They can score in a hurry.."
Did do a great job. THey have a tremendous offense. Average over 500 yards a game. tHey can score in a hurry.. QB is hard to bring down and highly-recruited. To hold them around 300 yards
The Grizzlies are now 10-0 on the season and have won 21 consecutive games dating back to the first game of the 2011 season. Butler will be facing Hutchinson in the regional championship for the third straight year.
"We expect a great game, a four-quarter type of game," Morrell said. "We have to have a great week of preparation. Coach Rhoads is doing a tremendous job at Hutch and they have a lot of talent on the field.
"That's what you want in a championship game. Two good teams and a lot of talent on the field. We will have to bring our "A" game and find a way to get it done. We will need all of our fans out there. Buco Nation needs to come strong."