With the hometown Independence Patriots with a bye, along with rival Rocky River, we covered the Butler non-conference home game against the Providence Panthers.
Even though these two teams compete in a different conference, a rivalry has surfaced over the years since the two schools are located within 3 miles of each other in South Charlotte.
Butler started with the opening kick-off from their own 20-yard line, and put together an 80-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard scamper from Jamal Worthy to pay-dirt, giving the Bulldogs a quick 7-0 lead with only four minutes into the game. The Bulldogs did not make it easy on themselves, as they were called for three penalties on the initial drive. Two pass plays to Darius Bobo for 11 and 6 yards helped keep the drive alive from quarterback Parish Metzger. Also, a 15 and 8-yard bruising rushing yardage gains during the drive-by Worthy made a significant contribution as Butler controlled the line of scrimmage.
The Bulldogs’ second score came later in the first quarter after defensive back Isaiah Lawson intercepted a Holland Stallings pass on the 24-yard line, giving the home team excellent field position. Just a few plays later, Worthy, their powerful running back, would rumble into the end zone on a first down from the 12-yard line, giving Butler a 13-0 lead. The PAT was good by Elijah Swett going straight through the uprights for a 14-0 advantage after the first quarter of action.
In the second quarter, Butler would extend their lead as the clock ran down to 2:45 remaining. The two big plays were on a third down and 7 yards for a first down, and Metzger would connect on a screen pass to Worthy, who would take the ball from his own 39-yard line to the Panthers’ 14 for a nifty 47-yard gainer. On the next play, Metzger would find running back Lamont Brooks in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown reception, giving the Bulldogs a comfortable 21-0 lead at halftime, with Swett making the PAT.
In the second half, Butler came out looking to finish off the Panthers. The Bulldogs defense shut down the Providence offense all night and came up with another big play with 10:04 on the scoreboard clock in the third quarter. The defensive line of Butler pressured the Panthers quarterback and backfield all night, penetrating through their offensive line. On this occasion, defensive end Bo Huff would pick up a fumble recovery on the Panthers 30 yard line, and race into the end zone untouched for 28-0, commanding Butler lead as Swett made his fourth consecutive PAT.
Metzger would connect with 2:57 remaining in the quarter to Isaiah Trent on a third and 11 situation to score the team’s final touchdown. Swett missed the PAT just wide to the left of the uprights, but Butler now had the Panthers in a 34-0 deficit with time running out.
In the fourth quarter, with Butler playing and rotating different players in and out of the game, the Panthers would take advantage of a low snap from center, and they would recover the ball on the Bulldogs 5 yard line. However, the defense of the Bulldogs pushed the Panthers backward. Therefore, to avoid the shutout, Providence elected to kick a 35-yard field goal. The kicker, Eddie Czaplicki, who was their best offensive weapon all night, drilled a kick straight through the uprights with plenty to spare. This kick would have been good from 50 to 55 yards, based on the distance where the ball landed.
Czaplicki, a junior, was the one bright spot for the Panthers. He consistently delivered high-towering hang time punts between 35 and 50 yards, often without returns, while not allowing the Bulldogs good field position.
The Bulldogs will host the Rocky River Ravens in a key conference match-up next week on Friday night on their home field scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.