HIGHLAND, Kan. — Butler football picked up its 500th win in program history with a 35-27 road win over No. 18 Highland on Saturday at Kessinger Field.
Grizzly sophomore running back Darius Timmons scored a pair of first-half touchdowns, while freshman quarterback Trae Self completed 19-of-36 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and rushed for one score to help Butler (1-1 overall, 1-0 conference) to its first win of the 2018 season.
The Grizzlies scored two second-half touchdowns off a pair of Highland turnovers enroute to the victory, while the Scotties (2-1, 1-1) suffered their first loss of the season.
Leading 21-17 after halftime, Butler added to its lead in the third quarter after Nick White recovered a fumbled punt return at the Highland 20-yard line. Maurice Farr forced the fumble with a jarring hit on Scotties returner Damari Williams, then the Grizzlies scored on the first play with a 20-yard pass from Self to Larry Jones with 6:20 left in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter holding onto a 28-20 lead, Butler took advantage of a bad snap and an intentional grounding call on a Highland punt attempt. Facing 4th-and-2 from the Scotties' 34, Highland punter Maxim Spruell had the snap sail over his head. After making a recovery near the end zone, Spruell tried to avoid a sack by throwing a pass, but was flagged on the play. The Grizzlies took over from the Highland 2-yard line and scored three plays later when Self snuck into the end zone on a quarterback keeper.
Highland would add a late touchdown with 2:37 to play when quarterback Avery McCall completed a 29-yard scoring pass to Bernard Porter to cap an 11-play, 73-yard drive.
The Scotties would get the ball back with 2:05 to play at their own 31-yard line, but three straight incompletions and a Jacoby Jones sack ended the drive and sealed the victory for Butler.
Highland scored on its opening possession of the game with a Ryan Schemtob 48-yard field goal. Scotties running back Kevin Brown had the big play on the drive with a 39-yard run to the Butler 29-yard line.
Butler did not respond until its second drive, gaining some momentum to midfield on consecutive runs of 12 and 16 yards from Grahm Roberts. Later in the drive, Self connected with Jones for 17 yards, then Roberts added an 11-yard run. A Highland personal foul moved the ball to the Scotties' 7-yard line, where Timmons would score his first touchdown.
After taking a 7-3 lead, Butler forced a punt on Highland's next drive, but Self threw an interception to Donnell Lowery, who returned the ball 45 yards for a touchdown to give Highland a 10-7 lead.
Two possessions later, Timmons scored his second touchdown with a 5-yard scoring run off the left side, putting the Grizzlies back in front 14-10 with 9:46 left in the half. Highland answered on the ensuing drive with a 50-yard touchdown off a short pass to Emanuel Stores for a 17-14 lead.
Roberts led Butler in rushing for the second straight game, gaining 86 yards on 18 carries. Jones was the Grizzlies' top receiver with five catches for 70 yards, while Wilson finished with two receptions for 68 yards.
Defensively, Jordan Smith was Butler's leading tackler with seven stops, four solos and one tackle for a loss. Jacoby Jones also had two sacks and 2.5 tackles for a loss for the Grizzlies, who had 10 tackles in the backfield as a team..
Not only did Butler outgain Highland 335 to 243 in total offense, but the Grizzlies proved to be more efficient on third downs by converting 8-of-20 attempts while limiting the Scotties to just 1-of-14.
After opening the season with two road games, Butler will play its first game of the 2018 season at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex next Saturday against rival Coffeyville (2-1 overall, 1-0 conference). Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. The Red Ravens will come into El Dorado riding a two-game winning streak after beating No. 17 Iowa Central 47-32, which marked the 600th win in program history. Coffeyville defeated Fort Scott in a wild 50-47 contest last week.
NOTES: Butler improved to 32-11-1 all-time vs. Highland and have won the last six meetings against the Scotties. Winners of 24 of the last 26 meetings, the Grizzlies have also won six straight games at Kessinger Field... With the win, Grizzly head coach Tim Schaffner moves into fifth place all-time at Butler with 25 wins... Schaffner improved to 4-0 all-time over the Scotties... Highland entered Saturday's contest with a 2-0 record, marking the first time since 2006 to accomplish that feat.