THE ROAD TO CEDAR FALLS: 2008

Garden City quarterback Eugene Smith middle is tackled by Butler players Felix Snipes (14) Jarrett Wright (10) and Jeffery Thompson in 2008. (EAGLE FILE PHOTO)

Monday: 1981

Tuesday: 1998

Wednesday: 1999

Thursday: 2003

Friday: 2007

Saturday: 2008

Behind the title: We’ve spent the last week here at Sunflower Slate looking back at Butler Community College’s NJCAA titles in football – all six of them. You can hit the links above to find stories behind the titles and game stories and boxes from the championship wins. In 2008, Butler opened the season with a loss, falling to Blinn in front of 13,000 at Cessna Stadium, but bounced back with 10 straight victories and earned a shot to face No. 1 Snow again in the Top of the Mountains Bowl in Salt Lake City. This time there would be no splitting the title because the NJCAA designated the game as the national-championship game, as they’ve done every year since. The Grizzlies last played for the national title in 2010, falling to Navarro in the Citizens Bank Bowl in Pittsburg.

Tomorrow: Gameday. 

Game story and box score after the jump. 

BUTLER REPEATS: Grizzlies beat Snow in double overtime for another national crown

By NATE CARLISLE

Eagle correspondent

SANDY, Utah – Thanks to a bizarre touchdown after a blocked field goal, Butler beat Snow College 37-30 in double overtime Saturday and won its second consecutive national championship.

“Y’all did it!” Butler coach Troy Morrell yelled to his players as he lifted the championship trophy above his head.

It was the second consecutive year No. 2 Butler (11-1) beat No. 1 Snow (11-1) to decide the national championship in the Top of The Mountain Bowl. This time, the Grizzlies did it with help of a play reminiscent of the infamous Thanksgiving game blunder by Dallas Cowboy defensive lineman Leon Lett.

On the first possession of the second overtime, Snow blocked a Logan Ortiz field-goal attempt. As the kick tumbled into the end zone, two Snow defenders dove for the ball, which would have been dead if they left it alone.

The ball squirted away from the Snow players, East product Demonte Hill pounced on the ball and it was ruled a touchdown after a short conference among the referees.

The score gave Butler a 37-30 lead, and when linebacker Forlando Johnson intercepted Snow’s Jon Eastman on the next possession, it sealed the Grizzlies fifth national title in the past 11 years.

“Whenever a kick is blocked, go get it,” Hill said. “The game was on the line. I had to go for it.”

Morrell said his team has practiced that scenario at least once a week all season.

“It just goes back to knowing what to do,” Morrell said.

The Grizzlies looked like they knew what to do early in the game.

On the Butler’s first possession, quarterback Press Taylor connected with Edgar Theliar for a 69-yard pass to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Randell Bell and a 7-0 lead.

Bell, the game’s most valuable offensive player, rushed for 41 yards and two touchdowns.

After Snow tied the score 7-7 and the teams traded missed field goals, Butler cornerback Laron Scott intercepted an Eastman pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.

“He just kind of threw it up there,” Scott said. “I was actually going to hit the (receiver) and I chose to pick it.”

Snow blocked the extra point attempt, but Butler had a 13-7 lead. The Grizzlies added another touchdown by Bell after recovering a

Snow fumble deep in Badger territory and went into halftime with a 20-7 lead. A safety by Snow cut the Grizzlies’ lead to 20-9 early in the second half, and after an Ortiz field goal made the score 23-9, the Badgers mounted a comeback that would send the game to overtime.

A fumble by Taylor on Butler’s 10-yard line set up one score, cutting the Grizzlies’ lead to 23-16. A long punt return from Snow set up a short touchdow n dive to tie the game at 23-23 with just over four minutes to play.

“We were a little bit down,” said Butler sophomore defensive end Zac Clark, a North product who was the game’s defensive most valuable player with two sacks. “Their crowd really got into it.”

Neither team could muster a score on its final possession of regulation.

After Snow scored to open the first overtime, Butler answered with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Taylor to Faron Hornes to tie the game at 30-30.

After Hill pounced on the missed field goal, Eastman’s pass ricocheted off a receiver and into Johnson’s arms, igniting hysteria on the Butler sideline.

“I wasn’t thinking interception until it came off his hands,” Johnson said.

Snow, Utah 7 0 2 14 7 0 – 30

Butler 7 13 3 0 7 7 – 37

First Quarter

B – Bell 2 run (Ortiz kick) 11:35

S – Church 2 run (Phillips kick) 8:22

Second Quarter

B – Scott 39 int. ret. (kick blocked) 8:01

B – Bell 1 run (Ortiz kick) 6:34

Third Quarter

S – Safety (Team) 13:01

B – Ortiz 24 FG, 5:40

Fourth Quarter

S – Thomas 10 pass from Eastman (Phillips kick) 11:24

S – Meifu 2 run (Phillips kick) 4:14

First Overtime

S – Thomas 24 pass from Eastman (Phillips kick) 15:00

B – Hornes 14 pass from Taylor (Ortiz kick) 15:00

Second Overtime

B – Hill fumble rec. end zone (Ortiz kick) 15:00.

Individual Statistics

Rushing-Snow, Church 19-92, Eastman 7-18, Meifu 3-12, McKenzie 3-6, Thomas 1-3, Buck 1-(-2); Butler, Bell 22-87, Taylor 12-50, Hubbard 6-3, Jacques 1-2, Hamm 1-0.

Passing-Snow, Eastman 19-32-3-266; Butler, Taylor 20-32-0-280.

Receiving-Snow, Thomas 8-154, Buck 4-74, Church 3-18, Ogbonna 2-13, Hatch 1-6, Meifu 1-1; Butler, Hornes 6-76, Ganies 5-53, Theliar 3-94, Davis 3-17, Bell 2-31, Williams 1-9.