The Butler football team is now alone atop the Jayhawk Conference standings after dominating Dodge City 38-14 on Saturday evening at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
The Grizzlies, ranked third nationally, now are 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the conference standings, a half-game ahead of Coffeyville (3-0). Dodge City is now 4-1 in conference play and 5-2 overall.
Butler took advantage of three Dodge City turnovers and also blocked two kicks – one of which was returned for a touchdown – as Butler controlled all three phases of the game in the convincing victory.
Dodge City got the opening kickoff and took the ball back 61 yards to start its drive at the Butler 37. Two plays later, however, Aaron Peak made a diving interception at the 20-yard line.
The Grizzlies were forced to punt and Michael Mason sent a 41-yard punt that went out at the Dodge City 5. When Dodge was forced to punt, Butler's Jake Suerer partially blocked the ball and Butler took over at the Dodge City 38.
Three plays later, Kobe McCrary crashed into the end zone from three yards out to give Butler a 7-0 lead.
Dodge City would fumble on its next two possessions. Butler turned the first fumble into a 2-yard touchdown run by Michael Mason and the second fumble into a 30-yard field goal by Lane Brewer as the Grizzlies led 17-0 with 2:54 to play in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Dodge City stopped turning the ball over and midway through the quarter, started a drive that took them deep into Butler territory. A first-and-goal turned into a field goal attempt by the Conquistadors.
The 20-yard kick was blocked by Butler's Damarcus Lloyd and picked up by Tony Jones. He sidestepped one defender and then had a clear path to the end zone, racing 98 yards for a touchdown that put Butler ahead 24-0 with 4:40 left before halftime.
Following that touchdown, Dodge City would get the ball back and score its first touchdown with a 4-yard run by Greg Scott.
Butler had the ball to start the third quarter and the Grizzles methodically marched the field, scoring on a 6-yard run by Kobe McCrary to push the lead to 31-7 with 12:36 left in the period. The Grizzlies got a 42-yard pass from Justice Hansen to Diantae Thomas on second and 26, then later got a 26-yard pass from Hansen to Julian Burris to set up the touchdown run.
Later in the third quarter, Butler would get the ball back after a Dodge City touchdown. Another big pass to Julian Burris, this one a 33-yard gain, set Butler up and Kobe McCrary again punched the ball into the end zone for a 2-yard score, making the score 38-7 with 3:36 to play in the quarter.
Dodge City got its second and final touchdown with 5:32 to play in the contest, getting a 2-yard run by quarterback Tommy Lazzaro to cap a long 12-play, 92-yard drive.
For Butler, Justice Hansen completed 13 of 19 passes for 201 yards. Julian Burris was his top target, catching five passes for a game-high 103 yards. Kobe McCrary was Butler's leading rusher with 19 carries for 59 yards. He had three touchdowns to give him 17 on the season, which leads the entire NJCAA.
Defensively, Tramal Ivy led Butler with 11 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Tony Jones had 10 tackles to go along with the blocked field goal returned for a touchdown and a sack. Desean Washington and Mychaelon Thomas also had sacks.
Butler now sets its sights on No. 1 Coffeyville, where the Grizzlies will play next week. The Red Ravens will play Sunday against Bethel JV.