EL DORADO – Turnovers – namely five interceptions – doomed the Butler Grizzlies in a 36-30 home loss to Garden City on Saturday at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
Three of the interceptions led to 22 points for the Broncbusters, who defeated Butler (3-2 overall, 2-2 conference) for the third straight season.
Butler’s only lead of the contest came on a 9-play, 65-yard opening drive, which was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Kevon Abrams.
Garden City answered with a 75-yard drive of its own, scoring when quarterback Terry Wilson turned a busted play into a 33-yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7.
Garden’s defense then forced the first interception, which was returned by Warren Saba all the way back to the 1-yard line. Charles West scored on the next play to put the Busters up 14-7.
Butler’s next drive also ended in an interception, caught by Garden City’s Brandon Mincey in the end zone for another touchdown. Garden got a pass for a two-point conversion to take a 22-7 lead.
Garden City got the ball to start the second half and wasted little time, as Wilson once again scored on a long quarterback keeper, going 49 yards to put Garden up 29-14 with 13:59 left in the third quarter.
Butler would score on a 9-yard pass from Helbig to Gerrit Prince with 5:13 left in the third quarter to get back within eight points at 29-21.
Helbig and Prince hooked up for another touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it 29-27 with 11:44 left in the game. However, Butler’s two-point conversion pass attempt to Prince was incomplete, leaving the Grizzlies trailing by two points.
Butler was bitten by the turnover bug again with another interception by Saba, which was returned to the Butler 4-yard line. Three plays later, Daniel Davis caught a 1-yard pass to put Butler up 36-27 with 8:43 to play.
The Grizzlies missed a 39-yard field goal attempt with 6:34 left. After a Garden three-and-out drive, Butler would get back into field goal range, this time converting on a Luke Winter 34-yard field goal with 3:44 remaining.
Garden City would pick up two first downs, but eventually punted the ball back with 47 seconds left in the contest. However, Butler’s last chance would end in another interception, effectively ending the game.
Offensively, Butler outgained the Busters 393 to 243 and won the time of possession battle (34:47 to 25:13). In addition to the five forced turnovers, Garden’s defense had four sacks on the night.
Kevon Abrams led Butler with 109 yards rushing on 23 carries with a touchdown. Kendall Stewart caught three passes for 115 yards and a touchdown while Prince caught four passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Helbig completed 20 of 46 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns and five interceptions. He was also sacked four times.
Butler will next be in action on Saturday with a Jayhawk Conference contest at Highland. Kickoff from Kessinger Field is at 1:00 p.m.
NOTES: Garden City now trails 40-39-3 overall in the series against Butler… The Broncbusters have won three straight regular season games against Butler, becoming the first Jayhawk Conference school to achieve that feat since both Garden and Coffeyville did from 1995 to 1997… The last time Garden City won three consecutive games over Butler was during the 2000 and 2001 seasons. The Broncbusters won the regular season and Jayhawk Conference title games in 2000, then won the 2001 regular season meeting. All three of those games were played in Garden City… Abrams went over the 100-yard rushing mark for the ninth time in his Butler career.