Coffeyville scores with no time remaining to beat Butler football, 29-28

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Coffeyville's Star Thomas (18) scores in the fourth quarter against Butler on Sunday, April 25 at Veteran Memorial Stadium in Coffeyville, Kansas. Thomas finished with four touchdowns on the afternoon.

COFFEYVILLE, Kansas — Coffeyville freshman Star Thomas stretched across the goal line with no time remaining as the Red Ravens stunned the Butler Grizzlies on Sunday night, 29-28. 

Before that, it had appeared Butler was about to steal a game in Montgomery County. Kevontae McDonald scored with 1:15 remaining to put Butler ahead by five and with the wind going against Coffeyville and the momentum on Butler's side, it almost felt like a sure thing.

But it wasn't meant to be for the Grizzlies.

Eight players later, the Red Ravens (3-1) had marched down the field and put the ball at the 1-yard line with 17 seconds remaining. Butler stuffed Thomas on the first attempt and Coffeyville scrambled to get set. They were able to get the snap off with four seconds remaining and Thomas took care of the rest. 

"We wanted them in that situation," Butler Head Coach Tim Schaffner said. "We weren't able to get to their quarterback and the 15-yard penalty didn't help us."

Coffeyville quarterback Kolbe Langhi ran for 16 yards on the final drive and threw for another 24 yards. He would finish 16 of 25 for 173 yards and two interceptions.

Butler falls to 1-3 on the season for the first time since 1997, the last time Butler finished with a losing record (4-5).  It will be the six consecutive season in which Butler finished the season with at least three losses. That has not been done since 1980 when they did it for 24 consecutive seasons.

What became the biggest play of the game was not Thomas' game winning touchdown score with no time remaining but a bad snap by the Butler long snapper. Butler's Jaydon Green was unable to corral the low snap and it was kicked through the back of the end zone with 2:51 remaining in the half. 

"In hindsight the two points made a huge, huge difference in the outcome," Schaffner said. 

The safety gave Coffeyville the 16-14 lead going into the break.

Outside of their final offensive drive, the offense never really found a rhythm all afternoon. Whether it was a mental mistake penalty that set them back of a tipped ball that fell into the hands of a Red Raven defender, what could go wrong, did go wrong for Butler. 

The Grizzlies finished with only 194 yards offense on the afternoon. It's the first time since September 29, 2018 where Butler was held to under 200 yards of total offense. 

Gavin Screws finished 7 of 19 for 72 yards and the early interception for Butler. McDonald had 54 yards on 14 carries. Jordan Kempf had 45 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. 

Butler capitalized on the wind early in the game after a 9-yard punt by Coffeyville. It was Kempf punching it in one player later for the 7-7 tie with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter.

Despite the strong wind forcing each offense to really work for a half only, Butler found themselves driving after a fumble by the Red Ravens with 3:16 remaining. 

Butler drove down the field, going 60 yards in nine plays, forcing Coffeyville to call timeouts to help preserve any time remaining and a chance at a last second score.

McDonald scored and the rest is all she wrote.

"Neither team had been able to move the ball against the wind," Schaffner said. "We felt confident. They just made plays.

In hindsight, Butler thought about going for two after McDonald's score, which would have put Butler up by six instead of five points.

"We thought about it but I've been here a long time," Schaffner said. "We've never had a team with no timeouts be able to get down the field and not only kick a field goal put themselves in the end zone."

Butler now has a short week as they have to prepare for the Highland Scotties (1-3) on Saturday, May 1. Highland is coming off a 68-10 loss to Independence and their only win is against Fort Scott, who opted out of the remainder of the season. 

"It's going to be the fifth game and fifth different itinerary this season," Schaffner said. "We've had zero consistency in our game weeks.

"This is another adversity these guys have to deal with. We'll get them ready on Tuesday for Highland."

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.