Closer, but still not close: Busters end season with loss to Butler
Closer, but still not close
By ADAM HOLT
EL DORADO — Jeff Tatum and the Garden City Community College football team wanted a close game against No. 2 Butler. And for about 37 minutes, they got one.
But the Grizzlies broke away in the third quarter, and the Broncbusters couldn't keep pace, losing 58-17 in a Region VI playoff game, Sunday at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
It ended up being lopsided, sure. But it wasn't a 71-point beatdown like in the teams' regular-season matchup, an 84-13 game. And Garden City was down by just 11 points near the middle of the third.
"I thought that those guys played their hearts out, and I couldn't ask for them to play any better," GCCC head coach Jeff Tatum said. "As a coach, you want them to give you their very best effort. And I know they can walk away from this game with no regrets."
The Busters took the momentum into the locker room, scoring on a 3-yard pass from Nick Marshall to Rod Coleman with 37 seconds left in the first half, and Garden City got the ball to start the third quarter with the score 21-10.
But then Raul Silva dropped a pass on third-and-10, and the Busters couldn't get the yardage on a fake punt-pass from Rilee Spresser to Adam Weber. Butler took over at the GC 46-yard line, and on its second play, scored on a hook-and-ladder, with Javess Blue catching a ball from Billy Cosh, then pitching it to running back Dreamius Smith, who took it up the left sideline for a 38-yard touchdown.
"That was probably the biggest, the drive of the game," Tatum said. "We get points there, and all of a sudden it's a different football game, because now it's either 21-20, or maybe even have the lead. That one was the one that really hurt us, as far as having a chance to win the football game."
Tatum's math might have been off, but his assessment wasn't. Garden City would score on a 7-yard run by Marshall to make it 28-17, but Butler scored the next three touchdowns of the half, and added a touchdown and a safety in the fourth.
Maybe Tatum was counting the points Garden City should have scored early in the game. Three trips inside the Butler 25-yard line and Garden had just three points to show for it.
Smith fumbled on the first play from scrimmage in the game, and Garden City recovered it at the Butler 25. Three incomplete passes later, and Marshall threw an interception on fourth down.
Butler went on to score on a 58-yard pass from Cosh to Jacob Hurla, and Garden City responded with Tyler Peterson missing a 28-yard field goal try.
"Yeah. We really needed to score right there," said receiver James Kelly, who had five catches for 50 yards. "We had to capitalize. We stopped ourselves in the red zone too many times, and we really needed to score there."
But the Busters defense held the Grizzlies to punts on their next three possessions, and Garden City got on the board with a 33-yard field goal from Peterson to make it 7-3.
"When we first came out, we felt like we were gonna win the game because our momentum was so high," sophomore defensive end Kitray Solomon said.
A 45-yard run by back Derrick Thomas and a 33-yard TD pass from Cosh to Hurla put Garden City in a 21-3 hole with 7:12 to play in the second, before the Busters responded at the end of the half.
And while this was just the third time this season the Grizzlies had been up by 11 or fewer points at half, they came out and did what they've done all season in the third, and pulled away to advance and face Hutchinson on Sunday for the region championship.
"First half was a little bit of a slow start, but our guys responded very well in the third quarter and coming out of the locker room, and executed better," Butler coach Troy Morrell said.
Big plays hurt GCCC again; six of BCC's eight offensive touchdowns went for 30 yards or more.
Marshall got beat up a bit, and wasn't helped by some big drops by his receivers at times, including some on third down.
"We needed to execute a little better," Kelly said. "Like I said, we stopped ourselves, they didn't stop us."
Marshall left the game in the third after taking a hit to the head, and was held out because the staff was worried he had a concussion. He was 18-of-37 for 229 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions. He rushed 17 times for 19 yards and a score. Jake Curran came in at quarterback for the remainder of the game.
Butler defensive lineman Ufomba Kamalu recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, on what looked like an incomplete pass. He pressured Marshall, who pump-faked and dropped the ball on the motion. It was ruled a fumble, bounced into the end zone, and Kamalu landed on it. Butler also got a safety on a blocked punt of Spresser.
Jamal Tyler had 17 carries for 52 yards, while Coleman led the receivers with six catches for 55 yards.
Cosh was 12-of-20 for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas was the leading rusher for the Grizzlies with 115 yards on seven carries, while Terrence Allen added 11 rushes for 106 yards and a score.
There was a scary moment with 4:12 to play in the game and GCCC's Kalyn Weber was hurt on a punt, getting hit hard by a BCC blocker. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance as a precautionary measure with a neck injury, but Tatum said Weber should be all right.
It wasn't the ending they wanted, but after a 2-7 season in Tatum's first year as head coach in 2011, a 6-4 campaign and region playoff appearance was something the Busters could be proud of — and playing a tight game for longer than most teams have against the Grizzlies this season.
And like it has all season, GCCC played through to the end, which Tatum has praised his team for all season.
"It was evident today, even when we got behind. Those guys never gave up," Tatum said. "They've made me proud all season by playing hard every game.
Garden City 3 7 7 0 -- 17
Butler 7 14 28 9 -- 58
B--Hurla 58 pass from Cosh (Rawlings kick), 13:10
GC--Peterson 33 FG, 3:11
B--Thomas 45 run (Rawlings kick), 12:26
B--Hurla 33 pass from Cosh (Rawlings kick), 7:12
GC--Coleman 3 pass from Marshall (Peterson kick), 37.0
B--Smith 38 pass from Cosh (Rawlings kick), 13:53
GC--Marshall 7 run (Peterson kick), 10:09
B--Thomas 55 run (Rawlings kick), 8:22
B--Allen 1 run (Rawlings kick), 2:39
B--Kamalu 0 fumble recovery (Rawlings kick), 2:21
B--Suggs 6 run (Rawlings kick), 14:19
B--Team safety, 6:59
First Downs 22 19
Rushes-Yds 39-67 34-261
Passing Yds 229 253
Comp-Att-Int 21-47-2 13-24-0
Total Offens 296 514
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 4-2
Punts-Avg 7-35 5-37
Penalties-Yds 9-53 6-75
Possession Time 37:47 22:13
PASSING--Garden City: Marshall 18-37-2-205, J. Curran 2-9-0-20, Spresser 1-1-0-4; Butler: Cosh 12-20-0-242, Harrison 1-4-0-11.
RUSHING--Garden City: Tyler 17-52, Marshall 17-19, Hill 3-5, Curran 2-(minus 9); Butler: Thomas 7-115, Allen 11-106, Suggs 5-45, Smith 7-8, Team 2-(minus 3), Cosh 2-(minus 10).
RECEIVING--Garden City: Coleman 6-55, Kelly 5-50, Silva 4-75, Hill 4-28, Garcia 1-17, Weber 1-4; Butler: Blue 6-84, Clarke 3-27, Hurla 2-91, Jones 1-11, Elliot 1-2, Smith 1-38.
MISSED FIELD GOALS--GC: Peterson, 28, WL.