Oconee H.S.) returned an interception for a touchdown and Valparaiso
took a lead into the fourth quarter on Saturday afternoon for the first time
this season, but
Butler rallied with two
touchdowns in the final 15 minutes to defeat the Crusaders 23-14 at the Butler
Bowl in Indianapolis, Ind.
With the win, the Bulldogs
retain the Hoosier Helmet, the traveling trophy that goes to the winner of this
“Butler is a good football team,” head coach Stacy Adams said afterwards. “They are one of the best teams in the
league. We played hard but we made some
key mistakes in key situations today that you just can’t make against good teams.”
The Crusader defense kept the
Brown and Gold in the football game, limiting the Pioneer Football League’s
leading offense to just 94 first half yards.
Valpo moved the football on the opening drive before being stopped on
downs at the Butler
Butler drove into Valpo territory but fifth-year senior Zac Griffin (Apple Valley, Calif./Granite
Hills H.S.) intercepted his first collegiate pass to end the scoring threat.
The Bulldogs finally cracked
the scoreboard with 1:56 to play in the opening quarter, as David Lang
connected on a 38-yard field goal. Valpo
looked to answer on its next possession, but Chris Smith’s (Manistee, Mich./Manistee H.S.) field goal attempt
from 45 yards out came up short.
Both teams traded punts
throughout the second quarter until Roger
Satur (Mansfield, Texas/Nolan Catholic H.S.) picked off a pass
and returned it to the Bulldog 27-yard line right before halftime. A Crusader interception ended the threat and
the teams went into the locker room with Butler
holding a 3-0 lead.
Butler (6-0, 3-0 PFL) got the
ball to start the second half but Crawford picked off his third pass of the
year and raced down the sidelines for the score to put Valpo on top 7-3.
After a Bulldog punt, the
Crusaders marched down field again. Quinn Schaefer (Roanoke,
Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) connected with Nicholas Henton (Chicago, Ill./De
La Salle H.S.) for 44 yards to set Valpo up at the one-yard line. Schaefer then snuck the ball in from a yard
out to put the Brown and Gold on by 11, 14-3, with 6:48 to play in the third.
The Bulldogs answered the
score with a touchdown of their own on a four-yard run by Ryan Hitchcock. Butler
then forced a fumble on the final play of the third quarter, and moved the ball
58 yards before Scott Gray scored from seven yards out for the go ahead
Butler tried to run the clock out, but a fumble recovery by Brett Heber (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook
South H.S.) at the Valpo five gave the Crusaders one more chance with 2:03 to
play in the game. Valpo could not manage
a first down though, and turned the ball over on downs, setting up a two-yard
run by Hitchcock in the final two minutes for the final score of the game.
Isaac Wildermuth (Sidney, Ohio/Upper Arlington H.S.) led Valpo offensively with 23
carries for 87 yards while Henton had two receptions for 63 yards. Gray led Butler with 22 carries for 99 yards.
“Wildermuth had to step up
with two starters down,” Adams said. “He went out and played well. He ran the ball hard. Our defense played hard as well and created
some turnovers. I was happy with how
Valparaiso (1-5, 0-3) will return to Brown Field next Saturday
for a Parents’ Day battle against Dayton. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Game Notes: Wildermuth’s
87 yards rushing marked a new career high … Valpo held quarterback Andrew Huck,
the PFl’s leading passer averaging just under 250 yards per game, to just 77
yards passing … Crawford now has eight career interceptions … Satur’s
interception and Heber’s fumble recover were their first of their careers … Butler
leads the all-time series 44-24 and has won two straight.