EL DORADO — A brand-new turf, and all Butler Community College’s football team needed was someone to use it.
Grizzlies’ quarterback Billy Cosh settled exclusively for short passes in the first half, and his game management and Butler’s defense allowed the No. 2-ranked Grizzlies to build an early lead.
Coach Troy Morrell figured that Butler couldn’t truly establish itself until Cosh started throwing downfield. So Cosh was unleashed in the third quarter, and his 64-yard bomb to Chris Fields was the game-breaker in Butler’s 28-10 win over No. 5 Blinn in the first football game at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
The stadium was dedicated by, among others, United States senator Jerry Moran, and officially broken in by the Cosh-to-Fields hookup.
"We were trying to take the screen game first," Cosh said. "We’ve got some great backs, some great receivers that can catch the football in the backfield and make plays. Those guys are very fast and athletic. I like to get those guys running, and that’s one of the best defenses we’ll play all year."
Cosh relied on the speed of Butler’s receivers and backs, as well as the Grizzlies’ blocking ability, to build his yardage total early. Screen passes or passes in the flat turned into gains of nine yards (twice) and an 18-yard reception by Dreamius Smith.
The Grizzlies balanced Cosh’s cautious play with a running attack that was hit and miss. The hit was Smith’s 58-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that put Butler ahead 14-0, and the misses were the lack of appearances by Butler backs after that.
Instead of using Smith and tailback Derrick Thomas to protect a 14-10 halftime lead, Butler coach Troy Morrell turned to Cosh to increase the lead. Cosh’s first downfield pass was broken up and subsequent deep balls were overthrown, but Cosh eventually got the hang of it.
Late in the third, Cosh completed his first pass of longer than 19 yards, and two completions later was the touchdown to Fields, a well-thrown strike that Fields caught at the 20 before eluding a defender and sprinting to the end zone. It was Cosh’s 14th pass of the third quarter — his one-yard touchdown run represented one of Butler’s six rushes in the third.
"Just taking what they’re giving us," Morrell said. "That’s what we predicate our whole offense on, and they were kind of jamming everything up inside. That’s why we were throwing the ball."
It seemed clear that Butler (2-0 overall, 1-0 Jayhawk Conference) had a game under its belt and that Blinn (0-1) was playing its first. The Buccaneers committed 20 penalties for 118 yards — 12 in the first quarter — and couldn’t figure out a strategy to overcome the Grizzlies’ defense.
Blinn quarterback Garry Kimble is highly recruited, but Butler made him look ordinary on Saturday. He was hesitant with his reads and the broken plays he attempted to fix were often quickly stopped by Butler, which recorded three sacks. Kimble rushed for 57 yards and passed for 115.
"We wanted to focus on stopping the option and the pitch," Butler linebacker Rahmon Swain said. "We wanted to keep him inside the pocket because obviously he’s a scrambler, so we just worked on keeping him inside the pocket."
|Butler (2-0, 1-0)||14||0||14||0||—||28|
Bu—Cosh 1 run (Rawlings kick)
Bu—Smith 58 run (Rawlings kick)
Bl—Williams 2 run (Walker kick)
Bl—Walker 25 FG
Bu—Cosh 1 run (Rawlings kick)
Bu—Fields 64 pass from Cosh (Rawlings kick)
Rushing—Blinn, Williams 17-59, Kimble 20-57, Claridy 5-29, Ashaka 2-2; Butler, Smith 10-84, Thomas 8-18, Ostgren 2-5, Allen 1-2, Oharah 1-0, Cosh 3-(-7), Oharah 1-0.
Passing—Blinn, Kimble 10-24-115-0; Butler, Cosh 21-35-232-1.
Receiving—Blinn, Vasquez-Haynes 3-60, Williams 2-9, Fletcher 1-15, Claridy 1-13, Ashaka 1-11, Blakemore 1-9, Flannigan 1-(-2); Butler, Blue 5-53, Smith 5-28, Hurla 3-30, Clarke 3-17, Fields 1-64, Hallman 1-21, Thomas 1-10, Walker 1-5, Allen 1-4.