No. 14 Butler wins 33-30 double-overtime thriller at Dodge City

No. 14 Butler wins 33-30 double-overtime thriller at Dodge City

DODGE CITY, Kan. - Butler kicker Tyler Zentner booted a game-winning 35-yard field goal as the 14th-ranked Grizzlies edged Dodge City 33-30 in double overtime Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The Grizzlies (3-1 overall, 3-0 conference) were forced into overtime after Dodge City scored a touchdown with 57 seconds remaining in regulation, then both teams made field goals in the first overtime. Zentner's game-winning kick came shortly after the Grizzlies blocked a 50-yard attempt by Dodge City's Devonta Guillory.

Butler quarterback Trae Self connected with tight end Rhett Weidenbacher on two touchdown passes, while Ja'kevious Vickers added a fourth-quarter rushing touchdown. Zentner kicked four field goals for the Grizzlies, who gained a season-high 270 yards on the ground.

Grizzly running back Makiya Caesar led the rushing attack with 157 yards on 26 carries, while Vickers gained 111 yards on 32 carries, giving Butler two 100-plus yard rushers for the first time since Oct. 4, 2012 (Derrick Thomas, 115, and Terrance Allen, 103, vs. Garden City).

Butler trailed 13-10 at halftime, but jumped ahead by four on a Self touchdown pass to Weidenbacher with 6:49 remaining in the third quarter. The Grizzlies put together a 10-play, 79-yard drive that opened with runs of 24 and 10 yards by Caesar to move across midfield. Vickers had a key 3-yard run on 4th-and-2 from the Dodge City 37, then Butler moved inside the 20 on a Conquistadors personal foul. Three plays later, Self faked a handoff, then fired a pass over the middle to Weidenbacher for the score.

On the next drive, Butler appeared to go up 23-13 when Kaden Davis caught an apparent 35-yard touchdown on third down from a scrambling Self, but the referees determined Davis did not complete the catch. Video showed that Davis had possession and took four steps before running out of the back of the end zone.

Butler was forced to punt back to Dodge, who drove 80 yards to go back in front 20-17 on a Drew Harris 5-yard scoring pass to Anthony Watkins. Harris had two big pass completions on the drive, hitting Zachary Hughes for 38 yards, then a 22-yard pass to Tyrice Richie right before the touchdown.

The Grizzlies would not answer back until 7:53 remaining in the game when Vickers bowled his way up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown run. Caesar carried the ball for runs of 10 and 12 yards on the scoring drive, then later Vickers set up the touchdown with an 11-yard run down to the Conqs' 1-yard line.

With 5:18 left in regulation, Zentner put Butler up 27-20 with his second field goal of the game after Tay Gowan ran back an interception 43 yards to the Dodge City 31.

Dodge responded with the game-tying drive by converting two fourth-down passes - including a 4th-and-6 as Harris hit Terrell Warner to tie the game at 27-27. Facing 4th-and-3 from their own 27, the Conqs kept the drive going as Harris hit Kyle Jones for seven yards. Two plays later, Harris scrambled 32 yards down to the Butler 34, then connected with Eugene Minter on consecutive 11-yard passes. From the Butler 12-yard line, Dodge managed only four yards on three plays until Harris hit Warner over the middle for the touchdown.

Dodge won the overtime coin toss and elected to play defense, as Butler drove down to the Conqs' 6-yard line behind runs of 7, 10 and 3 yards by Caesar. However, Dodge City forced the Grizzlies to kick a 21-yard field goal, which Zentner connected for a 30-27 Butler lead.

On Dodge's first overtime possession, the Conqs picked up a first down on 3rd-and-1 when Harris hit Richie for 10 yards. Butler's defense came up big by forcing two incomplete passes from the 4-yard line to bring out Guillory, who answered with a 21-yard field goal.

In the second overtime, Harris opened the Conqs' drive with two incomplete passes, then was sacked by Grizzly defensive lineman Jordan Smith on third down. Guillory's 50-yard attempt was blocked up in the air and into the hands of Butler's Jacoby Jones, who attempted to end the game on a defensive touchdown but was brought down at the Dodge 28-yard line.

Butler failed to get a first down on the final overtime possession, gaining only seven yards on the ground. After a Dodge timeout to ice the kicker, Zentner drilled the 35-yard attempt down the middle and raced to the other side of the field with a sliding celebration as the Grizzly sideline stormed the field.

Butler did not take its first lead of the game until 6:34 remaining in the opening half as Self hit Weidenbacher for the first touchdown to cap a 15-play, 75-yard drive. The Grizzlies utilized the ground game during the drive with six straight runs. Caesar had an 18-yard run down to the Dodge 23, but was flagged for a personal foul after the run. Butler was helped with a Dodge personal foul after Vickers managed only five yards on a 3rd-and-7, then Self ran a quarterback sneak for two yards on a 3rd-and-1 down to the Conqs' 4-yard line to set up the eventual touchdown.

Dodge grabbed a 13-10 lead just before half on a 77-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Daquan Bailey-Brown. Harris completed 15-of-32 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns and added 51 yards on the ground.

Defensively, Butler linebacker Hunter Kier finished with a game-high 12 tackles, five solos and one tackle for a loss. Linebacker Amare Barno added eight tackles, while defensive end Jacoby Jones had six tackles with a sack. 

The Grizzlies will try to remain undefeated in Jayhawk Conference play by hosting No. 11 Hutchinson (4-1 overall, 2-0 conference) on Saturday. The Blue Dragons have defeated Independence and Fort Scott in league play. Butler, Hutchinson and Garden City are the only three remaining teams undefeated in Jayhawk play. Kickoff from BG Products Veterans Sports Complex is at 7:00 p.m.

NOTES: Butler is now 54-33-1 overall all-time vs. Dodge City. The win was the Grizzlies' 11th straight road win in the series... Butler has won 39 of the last 45 meetings over Dodge City... The overtime contest was Butler's first since a 36-30 loss at Iowa Western in 2014. The Grizzlies are now 5-4 all-time in overtime games... Butler won its first game on the final play of the contest since Sept. 26, 2013, when Robert Rawlings connected on a 21-yard field goal in a six-overtime home win over Hutchinson... Zentner's four field goals matched a school record, tying Rawlings (2012 vs. Hutchinson) and Luke Winter (vs. Highland, 2016).