No. 19 Butler beats Highland 6-2 in defensive battle

No. 19 Butler beats Highland 6-2 in defensive battle

HIGHLAND, Kan. – The Butler football team gave up a shutout in order to preserve a win on Saturday at Highland, holding off the Scotties by a 6-2 score.

In a true defensive battle, No. 19 Butler scored the game's only touchdown in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Isaiah Truss with 5:02 left in the first half. The score by Truss capped a 10-play, 57-yard drive. Butler had the extra point blocked, leaving the score at 6-0 through halftime and a scoreless third quarter.

Abrams had a key 20-yard run on 3rd-and-11 from the Butler 42, while Highland extended the drive with penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct and defensive pass interference. The latter penalty came on 3rd-and-goal at Highland's 15-yard line, giving Butler a first down at the 2-yard line. Three plays later, Truss went up the middle for the lone touchdown of the contest.

Defensively, Butler held Highland on fourth down on five different occasions. Twice, in the fourth quarter, Butler held Highland with the ball just inches from a first down, both inside the 10-yard line. 

After the second fourth-quarter stop, Butler was backed up against its own end zone. Instead of trying to punt into a stiff breeze, the Grizzlies elected to run out of the end zone for a safety.

Highland returned the ensuing kickoff to its own 24-yard line, but a personal foul on the Scotties moved the ball back to the 10. Butler's defense forced a turnover on downs with 2:11 to play, then ran out the clock for the victory.

Butler had one other scoring opportunity in the contest after Will Honas picked off a pass at the Grizzly 35-yard line and returned the ball 37 yards late in the first quarter. The Grizzlies slowly moved the ball via the ground game to the Highland 5, but Luke Winter's 22-yard field goal went wide right with 12:25 remaining in the half.

Honas led the Grizzlies' defense with 15 tackles and eight solos, one sack and 1.5 tackles for losses in addition with his first-quarter interception. Hassan Belton added eight tackles with three solos and one tackle for a loss. Butler's defense finished with eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Highland doubled up Butler 216 to 108 in offensive yards, but the Scotties struggled on third down – converting just 2 of 12 attempts. Abrams had a team-high 66 yards rushing on 20 carries, while Vinnie Shabazz had 23 rushing yards on 13 carries. With only six passing attempts, Chris Helbig completed just two passes for 14 yards.

NOTES: Butler leads the overall series 31-11-1 all-time against Highland and has now won five straight games against the Scotties. The Grizzlies also won their fifth straight game at Kessinger Field… Butler has won 23 of the last 25 meetings against Highland since 1979… Butler's defense allowed less than 100 yards passing for the third straight game. The Grizzlies have the conference's top passing defense, allowing just 118.5 yards per game… Butler head coach Tim Schaffner picked up his 20th victory, which moves him past Bob Larson (1985-86) for seventh all-time in Grizzly history… With one reception for 17 yards, Butler sophomore wide receiver C.J. Sims tied Marcus Kennard (2009-10) for fourth place in career receptions with 68.