EL DORADO — Four hours in and on Dodge City's 104th offensive snap of the game, quarterback Aaron Hansen went for the touchdown throw. But Butler's Max Martinez, a Bishop Carroll product, stepped in front of the pass. It was a meaningful play in meaningless minutes.
"We have a lot of pride in our defense," said Butler's Cortez Webb, who also had an interception. "It doesn't matter if its our starters, our back-up's. Whoever is on the field, we don't let them score."
Butler's defense this season has been historic, and it continued with a 59-10 win over the Conquistadors on Sunday in the Region VI semifinals. The Grizzlies, ranked No. 4 in the latest NJCAA poll, will face No. 10 Hutchinson in next Sunday's Region VI final in El Dorado.
Butler went 30 quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown until four personal fouls and 55 yards of penalties enabled Dodge City to finished off a score with 10:18 left in the third quarter.
It was a sour ending to an impressive streak.
"We had a lot of pride in that streak," Butler coach Troy Morrell said. "We just had too many penalties. That's the straw that broke the camel's back. We've just got to be more disciplined."
Besides putting the lone dent in Butler's defense, Dodge City's other accomplishment in the game came by shocking everyone with an onside kick it recovered on the opening kick-off.
"It's just something that we do," said Dodge City coach Bob Majeski said. "We read and see where they're at on the field and we try to kick it where they're not. I was proud of the way the kids executed that."
But once Dodge City's offense took the field, nothing was easy. It took 105 plays to produce 346 yards, and Dodge City turned the ball over seven times. It also included three goal-line stands.
"We don't go into every game saying we can't let them score," Webb said. "That's just what we do. We feel more comfortable when we're down at the goal line. (The offense) has less room to work with. That's home to us."
Once Butler had the ball, it became Kendall Wrenn's show. The 6-foot sophomore receiver was spectacular every time Chandler Whitmer threw his way. Wrenn finished with six catches for 265 yards — all before halftime — and scored on touchdowns of 78 and 97 yards.
It marked Wrenn's fifth consecutive game of 100 receiving yards or more.
"I'm pretty confident when the ball is in the air," said Wrenn. "I know I can make the play. I've been here for awhile. I know it takes big-time plays to win games."
Things turned sloppy after Butler took a 38-3 halftime lead. The Grizzlies finished with 17 penalties costing them 156 yards.
But the defense remained resilient. Counting Demarcus Lawrence's 27-yard fumble return, Butler's defense now has as many touchdowns scored — five — as it has allowed this season.
"You always worry about how your guys are going to react coming off a bye week," said Morrell. "But I thought they played well the first half. There were a lot of good things that happened today, but a lot of things we've got to correct as well."
Dodge City (3-7) 0 3 7 0 — 10 Butler (9-1) 14 24 14 7 — 59
B— Sanders 6 run (Frazell kick)
B— Shortell 13 pass from Whitmer (Frazell kick)
B— Wrenn 78 pass from Whitmer (Frazell kick)
DC— Stephens 28 field goal
B— Smith 73 run (Frazell kick)
B— Frazell 32 field goal
B— Wrenn 97 pass from Whitmer (Frazell kick)
B— Lawrence 27 fumble return (Frazell kick)
DC— Stephens 2 pass from Hansen (Stephens kick)
B— Thomas 7 run (Frazell kick)
B— Thomas 2 run (Frazell kick)
Rushing— Dodge City, McWright 16-28, Hall 3-3, Stephens 2-2, Parnes 5-(-11), Hansen 8-(-17). Butler, Thomas 17-116, Smith 8-83, Sanders 5-20, Lester 1-1, Allen 1-0, Piper 1-0, Parmely 1-0, Team 1-(-1).
Passing— Dodge City, Hansen 20-39-3-184, Parnes 13-31-2-157. Butler, Whitmer 14-27-2-361, Piper 1-5-0-7.
Receiving— Dodge City, Stephens 9-116, Loomis 7-107, Alford 4-38, Swonger 4-34, Hendricks 4-23, McWright 4-14, Hall 1-9. Butler, Wrenn 6-265, Blue 2-46, Fields 1-14, Shortell 1-13, Smith 2-9, Clarke 1-7, Hurla 1-7, Sanders 1-7.
No. 10 Hutchinson 45, No. 20 Coffeyville 16 — Hutchinson rushed for 336 yards in a rout over visiting Coffeyville and set up a rematch with Butler in next Sunday's Region VI championship game. Jatavious Stewart led the Blue Dragons with 176 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns.
Coffeyville (6-4) 0 6 10 0 — 16 Hutchinson (8-2) 14 17 14 0 — 45
H—Stewart 76 run (Mesh kick)
H—Patterson 8 run (Mesh kick)
C—Atzenweiler 36 run (kick failed)
H—Mesh 36 FG
H—Lane 20 blocked punt return (Mesh kick)
H—Stewart 46 pass from Alford (Mesh kick)
H—Patterson 14 run (Mesh kick)
C—Hamacher 44 FG
H—Campbell 1 run (Mesh kick)
C—Atzenweiler 44 pass from Tyler (Bishop kick)
Rushing—Coffeyville, Atzenweiler 4-52, Green 14-46, Groves 3-9, Brewster 2-5, Zeno 1-(-1), Tyler 4-(-7). Hutchinson, Stewart 6-110, Patterson 7-87, Dinwiddie 12-86, Campbell 4-31, Alford 9-19, Lane 3-3, Getnges 1-1, Johnosn 1-1, Team 2-(-2).
Passing—Coffeyville, Tyler 21-43-224-0, Bishop 0-1-0-0, Rasmussen 1-1-9-0. Hutchinson, Alford, 8-16-98-0.
Receiving—Coffeyville, Jenkins 7-88, Berry 4-51, Green 4-17, Guess 2-14, Metcalf 2-10, Atzenweiler 1-44, Reed 1-9, Thames 1-0. Hutchinson, Johns 2-35, Cook 2-10, Patterson 2-0, Stewart 1-46, Tipton 1-7.