State Colleges

Familiar foes meet in Region VI

The poll-watching ended for No. 3 Butler Community College on Saturday night.

The Grizzlies' hopes of playing for a national title essentially ended Saturday night when No. 2 East Mississippi beat No. 5 Mississippi Gulf Coast 42-17 in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges title game. Top-ranked Arizona Western played Mesa — a 1-9 team it defeated 42-0 in its first meeting — late Saturday.

Both teams are undefeated while Butler has one loss, in its season opener to then-No. 1 Navarro.

"Because I'm a fan of junior-college football and because I like how they play in Mississippi, I'll be watching," Butler coach Troy Morrell said on Thursday. "But we can only worry about we can control, which is what we've said all along."

What Butler can control is today's Region VI title game against No. 8 Hutchinson in El Dorado

"Things have been going all right in practice this week," Morrell said. "It's that time of the year where everybody is a little beat up and maybe dealing with some health issues."

The Grizzlies defeated the Blue Dragons 28-10 in Hutchinson on Oct. 22 in Hutchinson in a game marked by Hutchinson quarterback Elliott Alford's mysterious, game-day shoulder injury and his inability to throw the ball on deep routes to 6-foot-4, 205-pound wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, arguably the top junior-college prospect in the country.

Hutchinson didn't score an offensive touchdown in the win — Patterson returned a kickoff for a touchdown — and managed just three points out of four trips to the red zone.

Today will be the third time the two teams have met in the Region VI title game, but it will no doubt be the last time at Blackmore Stadium.

The Grizzlies will play several regular-season games next year at Blackmore before moving into the new, BG Veterans Sports Complex.

Morrell, in his 12th year as coach, played for Butler and was also an assistant coach.

"There's a lot of memories at this place, so leaving is kind of bittersweet," Morrell said. "The thing that sticks out to me the most is the fans... coming out for warm-ups an hour before the game and seeing them 3-4 deep and the stands already packed. Those environments, those games were always really special."