The Butler football team held off a determined Iowa Central team on the road in a non-conference game Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, winning 41-24 on a cold, blustery afternoon.
The 15th-ranked Grizzlies led by 27 at two different points in the contest, but Iowa Central scored the final 10 points of the game.
Butler scored on five of its first six possessions as the Grizzlies rolled to a 34-7 lead in the first half. Quarterback Damarcus Smith threw for three touchdowns in the first half. His first was a 22-yard pass to Anthony Johnson in the front corner of the end zone.
Iowa Central would answer with a 62-yard touchdown drive that was completed by a 1-yard run by Chris McNutt.
Butler would then get a 26-yard touchdown pass on a slant route by Michael Gallup and a 44-yard pass to Bryce Chavis. The extra point on that touchdown was blocked, but the Grizzlies led 20-7 after one quarter.
Butler was up 34-7 at that point and looked to score once more before halftime, but a fumble by McKinley Johnson was returned 62 yards for a touchdown by Iowa Central's Oscar Opara, making the score 34-14 at the intermission.
Butler would score on its first drive of the third quarter on an 18-yard screen pass from Damarcus Smith to running back Chris Carson. That put the Grizzlies up 41-14.
The Grizzlies would not score after that. Iowa Central would get a touchdown on a four-yard run by Terion Farley and later in the third quarter, got a 40-yard field goal by Hunter Meyer to get within 17 points.
Neither team would score in the fourth quarter, although the Grizzlies had the ball at the 1-yard line before being stopped on fourth down late in the game.
Damarcus Smith had his finest game as a Grizzly, completing 22 of 28 passes for 312 yards and five touchdowns. It is the first 300-yard passing performance by a Grizzly QB since Billy Cosh threw for 391 in 2012 against Independence.
Chris Carson had 18 carries for 153 yards and also caught three passes for 40 yards, giving him 193 yards of total offense and a touchdown.
Butler is now 4-2 overall. The Grizzlies will be on the road again next weekend at Dodge City in a conference game. Dodge City (2-4 overall, 2-2 conference) is coming off a 49-38 loss at Fort Scott on Saturday. The Conqusitadors have lost four games in a row after starting the season with two straight victories.