Butler Grizzlies score 48 unanswered points to blow out Coffeyville Red Ravens

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette

COFFEYVILLE, Kansas — The Butler Grizzly defense was on a mission on Sunday afternoon in Coffeyville. 

"We just had a mission which was coming in here to win and that outweighed everything else going on," Sophomore Blake Barron said. "We stayed focused on the end goal, which was getting the 'W'.

Mission complete.

Butler waltzed into Coffeyville in the opening round of the KJCCC playoffs and handed the Red Ravens a 48-7 defeat. 

In a game that could have been for the conference championship, the Butler Grizzlies were dominate on both sides of the ball and never really gave Coffeyville any opportunity to be in the game. Outside of a 30-yard pass, the Butler defense was lights out. They held Coffeyville to 175 yards total offense and on three separate drives, had Coffeyville facing a third and more than 30 yards to go.

One of the reasons for that success was Barron. He flew to the ball and the defense felt as every play he was involved or helping Butler's defense swarm to the ball. 

"I had to put some pressure on myself to go out there to show that I can play at a high level and that I can put this team in position to win games," Barron said. "I think it really starts at practice with our coaches putting in a good game plan and our offense executing I think that's really where it starts."

Butler is dealing with the forfeits from earlier this week and it never really seem to have bothered them. Whether it was the emotional high of being demoted to a winless team or the eighth seed. The Grizzlies were locked in from the get-go.

"They are very dialed in and locked in and motivated today for obvious reasons," Butler assistant coach Bryce Vignery said. "You take your hat off to our defensive staff. Our coaches did a really good job preparing our kids amongst everything that happened this week and getting them motivated on the task at hand."

The Grizzlies beat the Red Ravens off the ball, forcing the Red Ravens into uncomfortable situations. That led to poor choices by Coffeyville. They were hit with five holding penalties, two of those were declined but it was the aggressiveness of the defense that was the difference. 

"They're a special group like that," Vignery said. "They do a good job of standout in narrowing the focus and you know, just not riding that emotional rollercoaster."

Once Coffeyville scored, the Grizzlies responded with a 24-yard strike from Gavin Screws to Darius Lassiter tie it up with 6:16 remaining in the first quarter. Then, Carson Ardnt gave Butler the 10-7 lead, the Grizzlies never looked back. 

After Coffeyville faced a fourth-and-one from their own 39-yard line, they decided to punt and Butler decided to make them pay. 

Butler marched 10 plays and it was a 5-yard touchdown pass from Screws to Karter Johnson that put Butler up by double digits in the second quarter.

The rout was on. 

The Grizzlies blocked a punt and Arndt hit another field goal to send Butler into the half with a 20-7 lead. 

For everything Butler did on Sunday, it was the efficiency of Screws that sent the Red Ravens spiraling. He had an explosive second half in the loss to Coffeyville in October and it continued on Sunday.

"We've seen these guys before," Screws said. "We were really confident about it." 

Screws had himself a game, finishing 19 of 31 for 274 yards and four touchdowns. 

Whether it was biding time in the pocket or being able to get outside and hit a running back on the wheel route, he was efficient and took care of the ball. 

"Efficiency, efficiency efficiency," Screws said. "From the beginning of the season, efficiency, and that's what we got to do to win."

Screws found four difference receivers, including Caden Cox right out of halftime after Butler forced the Red Ravens (6-2) to punt on their opening drive. He found Cox on a screen pass that saw the sophomore dance into the end zone for the three-score game and deflated what little hope Coffeyville had left. 

Cox would punch in a 42-yard score in the game's final minute for the icing on the cake. 

In all, the Grizzlies 572 yards of total offense. Three different rushers, Adarius Thomas (86), Kevontae McDonald (77) and Cox (83) all had over 77 yards each. Jordan Kempf added in 53 more for the Grizzlies. 

AJ King led Butler with six catches for 145 yards and a score. Four different receivers caught a touchdown.

Butler scored 48 unanswered points to become the first eighth seed to win a playoff game in the KJCCC history. Previously, the 10 other eight seeds scored a combined 47 points. 

For others, like Screws, this game represents more than just a playoff win for the Grizzlies, it's his first ever playoff win. 

"For me, this is my first playoff win ever," Screws said. "I got put out in the first round both rounds for both times. It's just really fun to come in and execute and let somebody else feel that gut feeling because you feel like all the way till next season."

The Grizzlies will now go back to Garden City, where Butler escaped with a 1-point win only last week. The fourth-seeded Broncbusters beat Dodge City, 36-16 to advance to the semifinals. 

The winner of next Sunday's game gets to the championship game at Riverfront Stadium in Wichita, Kansas on Nov. 21. 

"We can't look past that and just take it day by day, week by week and see where it takes us," Vignery said. 

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.