FORT SCOTT, Kan. - Isaiah Truss scored the game-winning touchdown on a 6-yard run with 1:45 to play as No. 5 Butler survived a muggy season opener with a 41-35 road win over Fort Scott.
It was a come-from-behind effort for Butler, which trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and still trailed 21-14 at the half. Butler's first lead didn't come until the fourth quarter, but Fort Scott tied the game once again, setting the stage for Butler's late game-winning score.
Fort Scott took the opening drive of the game and marched 60 yards down the field, taking a 7-0 lead. Butler answered quickly. On its second offensive play of the season, starting quarterback Easton Bruere threw a pass to C.J. Sims, who outran the defenders for a 61-yard touchdown, tying the game 7-7 with 10:05 left in the first quarter.
Fort Scott scored on its second possession as well, capping a long 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 25-yard pass from Nathan Rourke to Sirr Green. The Greyhounds led 14-7 and then pushed the lead to 21-7 when a Butler fumble turned into a 65-yard recovery and rumble to the end zone by big defensive lineman Jordan Robinson with 27 seconds left in the quarter.
David Isreal made his debut at quarterback for Butler to start the second quarter and he also threw a touchdown pass to Sims, this one a sliding catch of a low throw from 10 yards out. Butler trailed 21-14 with 7:18 to play in the half, but neither team would score again before the break.
Butler got the ball to start the third quarter and drove the length of the field, getting a 5-yard quarterback keeper run from Isreal to tie the game 21-21.
Fort Scott regained the lead at 28-21, but it would be the final lead of the game for the Hounds. Shortly after that score, Kevon Abrams sprinted 65 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown that tied the game at 28-28 with 1:15 left in the third quarter.
Fort Scott would not go away, tying the game on another touchdown pass by Nathan Rourke with 8:31 to play. After each team was forced to punt, Butler got the ball back at its own 40 with 5:34 remaining. Truss would later find a hole up the middle and sprinted 38 yards before being caught from behind. Three plays later, he scored the game-winning touchdown from six yards out with 1:45 left.
Butler missed the extra point and that gave Fort Scott a chance to win with a touchdown. The Greyhounds got as close at the Butler 37 before Hank Honas came up with two big sacks on back-to-back plays. The Greyhounds completed a pass on the final play of the game but were stopped at the Butler 41 to end the game.
With the win, the Grizzlies are one of three teams with a 1-0 record in Jayhawk Conference play. The Grizzlies will get an early-season bye week next week before playing their home opener on Sept. 10 against Coffeyville. The Red Ravens are 0-1 after falling 34-29 at home to Hutchinson on Saturday.
NOTES: Butler improves to 55-26-6 overall in season openers and have won five consecutive openers... Butler now leads the series 51-30-2 against Fort Scott and have won seven straight games against the Greyhounds... With Saturday's win, Grizzly head coach Tim Schaffner matched former head coaches Tom Saia and Troy Morrell as the second fastest to 10 wins as Butler head coach... Fort Scott's 35 points are the most points the Greyhounds have scored against Butler since 1978. Fort Scott won that contest by a 39-21 score.