Garden City Broncbusters' missed extra point late gives Butler Grizzlies victory

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Butler's Cooper Lovelace lifts Paris Brown in the air after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter.

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Garden City's David Elder caught a 27-yard touchdown pass with 1:15 remaining and it appeared the Broncbusters had climbed out of the depths of defeat to tie the Butler Grizzlies on Saturday at Broncbuster Stadium.

Except they celebrated the touchdown catch a little too much according to game officials. 

Garden City was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the extra point where William Greig pushed it right and Butler held on to the 24-23 win.

"We go hard every snap," Dylan Jordan said. "I was able to get push on the guard and just saw it go by the upright and just celebrated with my teammates."

For Butler (6-2), it felt like an old school victory, grinding out an win on the road against a really good opponent. It's not just the stealing a win off a missed extra point but it was how Butler put themselves in the position to get the win. 

The offense was efficient, didn't turn the ball over and didn't try to do too much, trusting within the game plan. For the defense, they stuck with trying to keep the cutback of the Broncbusters at bay. That started with MJ Cunningham, who stepped into the middle linebacker position for Malik Berry, who missed the game. 

"I told my defense that I was already in playoff form," Cunningham said. "Our defense started the season out pretty new but we've come together and now we're clicking at the right time."

Cunningham had an interception with 8:31 remaining that saw Butler set up for the game-winning drive. Garden City quarterback, Rhett Ricedorff appeared to not have seen Cunningham, as he stepped into a passing lane and picked off the pass. 

Butler Grizzlies linebacker, MJ Cunningham (6), follows the action against Garden City Community College on Saturday, Oct. 30 at Broncbuster Stadium in Garden City, Kansas.

From there, Butler drove down and Gavin Screws found Daevon Robinson on a 24-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to put Butler ahead 24-17 with 6:19 remaining. 

"We had a slight different variation on that set coming out on fourth down," Butler head coach Tim Schaffner said. "We didn't necessarily need a touchdown there but we will certainly take it."

Butler responding is something they've done all season long. While turnovers on offense have been their down fall, like with Coffeyville, when they take care of the ball, they're an efficient bunch and can make teams pay. 

They came out and drove down the field and scored on the first drive with a Paris Brown run to put Butler up 7-0. The Grizzlies went up 14-3 when Adarius Thomas scored on a 4-yard burst with 12:49 to go in the second quarter.

Garden City had battled back to tie it at 17-all on a touchdown run by William Talbert right before the end of the third. 

"We never trailed," Schaffner said. "We always had an answer." 

They did and it was never the result of a panic play or trying to do too much like we saw last season. This year, despite punting on consecutive possessions, Butler made stops and continuously put their offense in position to win the game. Last season this team wouldn't capitalize on those opportunities. This season, instead of knocking on the door, they're burning the door down. 

The missed extra point felt like it was coming after Garden City scored. Though a questionable excessive celebration penalty on Garden City gave the Grizzlies the option of moving it on the try or on the kickoff. To Schaffner, the decision was easy, despite knowing Garden City had missed three extra points last week against Coffeyville.

"With this wind, he would have put it out of the end zone anyway," Schaffner said. "We we went ahead on the try."

The pressure and the wind was the recipe the game needed for the kick to sail right of the upright. Though, Butler was hit with an excessive celebration penalty for celebrating too hard on the missed extra point. 

Butler would recover the onside kickoff, essentially icing the game.

For Butler, they get coach Schaffner his 50th career win as head coach of the Grizzlies. He's been a part of 100s of them but as the head ball coach, it's win No. 50 and over Garden City, a school where he coached previously. 

"I love that man," Cunningham said. "What he does for us and I've only been here a few months but he really loves us. He'll go to his daughter's volleyball game and come back and make sure we're prepared."

Schaffner wasn't aware of the milestone. 

"For better or worse, I've put a lot of time in here [at butler]," Schaffner said. 

The Grizzlies will now head into the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference playoffs as the No. 3 seed. they'll host 6th-seeded Dodge City at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7. 

Butler has been in playoff mode as this has been a seeding game essentially.

"Time to lock for playoff football," Jordan said. "Simple as that. "This separates good from great, we'll see if we have the receipt to be great."

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.