Monthly Archives: November 2012

THE ROAD TO CEDAR FALLS: 2007

 

Butler’s Markus White sacks Fort Scott quarterback Greg Cross in the Region VI championship game. (EAGLE FILE PHOTO)

Monday: 1981

Tuesday: 1998

Wednesday: 1999

Thursday: 2003

Friday: 2007

Saturday: 2008

Sunday: Gameday

Behind the title: Led by defensive end Markus White, the NJCAA defensive player of the year, the Grizzlies entered the Top of the Mountains Bowl ranked No. 2 in the country and with an 11-0 record. Turned out, even a dominating, 56-27 win over the No. 1 team in the country – Snow College – wasn’t good enough to get them the NJCAA title all by themselves. In a decision that still has people scratching their heads, the NJCAA held a special meeting over the weekend to decide to name co-national champions, splitting the title between Butler and then-No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which defeated No. 15 Kilgore 62-28 in the Heart of Texas Bowl. The decision, according to NJCAA assistant executive director Mark Krug, was made for the “good of the sport” and the voters were only allowed to rank teams 3-20. “There’s nothing we can do about it,” Butler coach Troy Morrell said after the rankings came out. “We’ve done everything we can do on the field. It shouldn’t tarnish anything our kids accomplished. We beat six ranked opponents.”  White, running back Beau Johnson and offensive lineman Wade Weibert were all named first-team All-Americans for Butler.

Tomorrow: Butler goes back-to-back for a second time. Game story and box score from ’07 after the jump. 

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THE ROAD TO CEDAR FALLS: 2003

 

(EAGLE FILE PHOTO) BUTLER QB CHAD WILMOTT IS TACKLED AGAINST COFFEYVILLE

Monday: 1981
Tuesday: 1998
Wednesday: 1999
Thursday: 2003
Friday: 2007
Saturday: 2008 
Behind the title: Four years later, and Butler has already lost once while playing for the national title, in 2001, making it back-to-back years the Jayhawk Conference falls short — Garden City also played for the whole thing in 2000. Former offensive coordinator Troy Morrell, a Butler alum, is trying to win his first national title after winning two as an assistant under James Shibest in 1998 and 1999. This year, Butler, ranked No. 1 and 11-0 headed into the game, faces No. 2 Dixie (10-1) in the Dixie Rotary Bowl in St. George, Utah, the same spot where Dixie had handled them, 31-18, one year earlier. The Grizzlies brought 36 sophomores into this game — an unbelievable amount, trust me — and had much better conditions traveling to the game this time, flying from Kansas instead of a 22-hour bus ride. “It’s not a vacation for us,” sophomore running back Joseph Harris said. “We plan on going out there and taking care of business this year.”  And did they ever. Tomorrow: 2007, and some controversy. Game story and box after the jump. 
PS. This is also the team that handed Coffeyville one of the most devastating losses in school history, a 28-point, second-half comeback against a Red Ravens’ team with current NFL players players Dashon Goldson and Johnathan Joseph on the 2003 team (thanks to GrizzlyFan77 for the heads up on that one).
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THE ROAD TO CEDAR FALLS: 1999

 

Butler’s Rudi Johnson shakes off a number of Dixie College defenders on his way to a 66-yard touchdown run – Johnson ran for 7 TDs and 373 yards to lead the Grizzlies to a second straight national title. (BO RADER/EAGLE FILE PHOTO)

Monday: 1981

Tuesday: 1998

Today: 1999

Thursday: 2003

Friday: 2007

Saturday: 2008

Sunday: Gameday

Behind the title: This was Butler’s second straight national title and, once again, they were headed west to face the No. 1 team in the country, this time, Dixie (Utah) in the Dixie Rotary Bowl at St. George, Utah – where an estimated 8,000 fans packed into a 6,000-seat stadium to watch the game. Butler’s trump card? One of the greatest junior-college football players of all time in running back Rudi Johnson, who led the nation in rushing in ’99 with an amazing 2,224 yards and 32 touchdowns. Johnson would come absolutely uncorked against Dixie, going for 373 yards and 7 touchdowns against the second-best rushing defense in the country. In an interesting aside, Butler sophomore offensive lineman Howard Duncan won his second straight title with the Grizzlies … then would go on to win another one the next year with Oklahoma. After this game, coach James Shibest left Butler to take a job as an assistant at Arkansas. His replacement? The young offensive coordinator on Butler’s two title teams – Troy Morrell. 

Game story with notes and box score after the jump: 

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THE ROAD TO CEDAR FALLS: 1998

 

BUTLER COACH JAMES SHIBEST HUGS DANIEL COBB AFTER A VICTORY OVER GARDEN CITY (1998 EAGLE FILE PHOTO)

Behind the title: Yesterday, we looked back at Butler’s 1981 NJCAA title team. Today, it’s Butler’s 1998 NJCAA title team – the one that shocked the nation with an upset of No. 1 Ricks (now BYU-Idaho) in front of almost 12,000 at the Real Dairy Bowl. How foreign was the national stage for the Grizzlies at this point? Most of  the players had to purchase special, flat-bottomed shoes to play on the turf at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho. Tailback Rudi Johnson was a freshman on this team and rushed for almost 700 yards in the three playoff games (all 8 teams used to make league playoffs) and the Grizzlies rallied from second-half deficits six times for victories.  It was the first NJCAA title for the Jayhawk since Coffeyville won in 1990 and ended a string of Jayhawk teams coming up short when playing for the title – Garden City twice and Coffeyville once … which leads us to our next point: There were no official title games at this point. Butler received 106 votes in the final NJCAA poll – just one more than Jones County (Miss.). 

TOMORROW: 1999

Game story and box score from the title game after the jump.  

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THE ROAD TO CEDAR FALLS: 1981

 

UNI-DOME

I’ll be in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Dec. 2 for the Graphic Edge Bowl between No. 2 Butler (11-0) and No. 1 Iowa Western (11-0) as they play for the NJCAA title at the UNI-Dome.

Starting today, Sunflower Slate will be putting out posts on Butler’s six NJCAA title teams as they go for a seventh. We’ve got a week’s worth of coverage planned leading up to the game in The Eagle and at Kansas.com.

We start with the original – a 1981 team that I wrote a story about two years ago as Butler was getting ready to play Navarro for the NJCAA title at the Citizens Bank Bowl in Pittsburg, a game Butler lost in pretty dramatic fashion and the last time they played for the NJCAA title. Here’s a blog post that had some more stuff about that 1981 team that beat NEO 21-14 in the Rodeo Bowl in Arkansas City.

Finally, there’s this feature about Butler assistant Steve Braet that I wrote and ran in Sunday’s edition. He’s been an assistant on all SIX of Butler’s title teams and seems to have come as close to perfecting the art of coaching d-line as any coach I’ve been around at any level.

Tomorrow – 1998.

TA

Cowley volleyball advances to NJCAA Division II semifinals

Cowley College won twice on Thursday at the NJCAA Division II tournament in Toledo, Ohio, sweeping Northeast Oklahoma A&M 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-13) and beating Kansas City Kansas 3-1 (25-13, 25-17, 21-25, 25-21). Cowley (37-0) is the the defending Division II champion and faces host school Owens (37-9) on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

In other Cowley news, athletic director Richard Speas resigned Thursday, according to ArkCity.net. Speas had only been on the job since June 18.

College basketball previews/behind the stories

SHAMAR ACUAY

We put out our college basketball preview on Sunday, including features and capsules on the MIAA, KCAC, Jayhawk Conference and Newman. Here’s links to our stories and capsules plus a few behind-the-scenes bits on each story – click the name of the league for the jump to capsules – Newman women are a folo on the main feature:

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