Butler's win sets up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 show down next week in Hutch.
Brock Sturges split out wide to the left and the Dodge City Conquistadors decided they weren’t going to cover him.
50 yards later, Sturges made them pay and the Butler Grizzlies were off and running.
“It’s my O-line,” Sturges said. “I’ll roll with those guys every day.”
The Arizona State transfer made the winless Conquistadors pay over and over. Whether it was his ability to get into the slot and make plays catching the ball or making the opponent pay by grinding it out.
“We’re lucky to have a back like that can let us do multiple things,” Butler head coach Tim Schaffner said.
Sturges finished with 193 all-purpose yards as the No. 2 Butler Grizzlies beat Dodge City 31-10 to set up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown next week.
Sturges helped set up Butler’s second score on a beautiful 48-yard burst down the right side. Sturges cut through the first line of the defense and at midfield, stopped on a dime, changed gears and flipped the field in a matter of seconds. Two plays later Steven Frank found Lane Lunt for a 15-yard touchdown pass, putting Butler up 14-3 with 14:54 to go in the half.
On the ensuing possession that’s when Sturges made the Conquistador defense pay. He shifted to the left, lining up in the slot and was left uncovered for the easy 50-yard touchdown reception.
“That was an easy ball to catch,” Sturges said.
Butler would take a 21-10 lead into halftime but Sturges’ job wasn’t done. He finished with 143 yards rushing on 18 carries, including another touchdown early in the fourth quarter. That was fueled by another long Sturges run. This time for 45 yards, weaving through the Dodge City defense, his maneuvering appeared oil moving through water. Sturges would finish the drive with a 7-yard run, making it 31-10 with 8:30 to go in the game.
It’s the first times since Weeks 1 and 2 of the 2016 season when Kevon Abrams rushed for 162 yards against Fort Scott and 244 yards against Coffeyville, respectively, a Butler player has had over 140 yards for back-to-back games.
Butler’s offense has been a bit discovered as of late. The passing game isn’t as crisp and there are mental mistakes based off their inefficient passing game. However, the saving grace has been the run game. With Sturge’s 143 yards and Adarius Thomas adding another 65 yards, the Grizzlies are making opponents pay if they want to defend Butler through the air.
“It’s pick you poison,” Sturges said. “It’s not just me, we have a lot of backs who can make you pay.”
If they want to load the box and have Frank beat the defense, we’ve seen that happen. Frank threw for over 200 yards three times this season, including a 278 performance against Iowa Central.
“If they want to load the box and try to stop Brock,” Schaffner said. “We’ll use our speed and beat them through the air.”
Butler rushed for 220 yards on the evening, more than Dodge City had in total offense (185 yards).
Butler will take their undefeated season and their six-game winning streak dating back to last season, to Hutchinson on Saturday afternoon.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Gowan Stadium in Hutchinson, Kansas.
“We’ll be ready,” Sturges said. “It’s what we do. It’s what we’re going to do.”
Dodge City 3 7 0 0 - 10
Butler 7 14 3 7 - 31
1Q 6:04 Butler – Nick Davenport 1-yard TD run (Jacob Abel kick is good).
1Q 1:58 Dodge City – 36-yard FG is good by Moses Hinojosa.
2Q 14:54 Butler – 15-yard TD pass from Steven Frank to Lane Lunt (Abel kick is good).
2Q 12:16 Butler – 50-yard TD pass from Frank to Brock Sturges (Abel kick is good).
2Q 2:31 Dodge City – GregDarius James 2-yd TD run. (Hinojosa kick is good).
3Q 6:54 Butler – 32-yd FG is good by Abel.
4Q 8:30 Butler – 7-yd TD run by Sturges (Abel kick is good).