No. 3 Butler outlasts Coffeyville 36-34 in instant classic

No. 3 Butler outlasts Coffeyville 36-34 in instant classic

The Butler Grizzlies survived another instant classic with their arch-rival Coffeyville, getting an interception in the closing seconds to hold on to a narrow 36-34 win at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.

Coffeyville drove into Butler territory in the final minute of the game, facing 4th and six at the Butler 42. Coffeyville quarterback Cameron Key threw a pass that was intercepted by defensive back Elijah Lee at the 21 with just 19 seconds remaining. 

Butler has now won two straight against Coffeyville and 25 of its past 26 games against the Red Ravens dating back to 1998. Butler won the game despite four turnovers. The Grizzlies have seven turnovers through the first two games of the season.

The two teams posted 70 points in the first 39 minutes of the game, then no one scored in the final 21 minutes. 

Butler started the scoring by taking the opening kickoff and driving 70 yards in six plays. Sammie Epps scored on a 3-yard run to give Butler a 7-0 lead.

The Grizzlies forced a Coffeyville punt and drove down the field again, but quarterback Easton Bruere was intercepted and Coffeyville's Darreon Jackson returned the ball 72 yards for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 with 11:01 left in the first quarter.

Butler's next possession also ended with a Coffeyville touchdown as Ferrod Jackson recovered a fumble and rumbled 37 yards to put the Ravens up 14-7 with 9:56 left in the first quarter. Butler has now surrendered three defensive touchdowns through two weeks.

Butler scored 15 straight points beginning with a 30-yard field goal from Chris Diddle, followed later by an 80-yard for a touchdown by Kevon Abrams, putting the Grizzlies ahead 17-14 after the first quarter.

The Grizzly defense also scored, getting a safety from Tony Jones early in the second quarter. After the Coffeyville free kick, Butler drove 30 yards in 10 plays and got another Diddle field goal, putting the Grizzlies ahead 22-14 with 8:17 left in the period.

Coffeyville would answer quickly, getting a 73-yard kickoff return and finishing the short drive with a 9-yard touchdown run from Antwan Barksdale with 7:06 left in the half.

Butler would hold onto the one-point lead into halftime, but Coffeyville needed just one play in the third quarter to regain the lead, getting a 70-yard touchdown pass from Key to Terry Wright to go up 27-22 despite a blocked extra kick.

Butler would take the lead for good on a 46-yard touchdown pass from David Isreal to C.J. Sims, who fought off two defenders and made the catch at the goal line.

Two minutes later, Kevon Abrams busted his second long touchdown run of the game, this time sprinting 77 yards up the left sideline to make it a 36-27 game with 8:17 to go in the third quarter.

Coffeyville answered back, getting a long touchdown pass from Key to Malik Stanley with 6:37 left in the third to make it 36-34.

The Ravens' touchdown ended up being the final score of the contest. Butler would fumble twice and punt five times to close the game. Coffeyville would get a field goal blocked by Jake Seurer later in the third quarter and punted five straight times before the interception to end the game.

Butler's Kevon Abrams rushed 22 times for 244 yards and a pair of touchdowns, averaging 11.1 yards per carry. Trenton Autry had seven carries for 32 yards, picking up two clutch first downs late in the fourth quarter.

David Isreal and Easton Bruere again split time at quarterback. Israel was 13-of-20 passing for 139 yards and a touchdown, while Bruere was 1-of-4 for 50 yards and an interception.

C.J. Sims had another big game receiving, catching four passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Butler is now 2-0, with both games being decided by the defense in the closing seconds. The Grizzlies are also 2-0 in Jayhawk Conference play, but will play a non-conference road game next Saturday at 1:00 p.m against Iowa Western. The Reivers are 1-2 after a 26-7 win at Fort Scott on Saturday.

NOTES: Coffeyville still leads the season series against Butler 46-42-2... The safety by Tony Jones was Butler's first safety by an individual since Jamone Boyd recorded one on Oct. 19, 2013 at Coffeyville... Butler is now 56-25-5 overall in home openers and have won seven consecutive home openers.