Butler County’s Bears compiled more than 400 yards on offense last Friday evening at Cougar Field as they humbled Grayson County 48-18.
The Bears improved to 4-1 on the season thanks mainly to the passing of senior quarterback Rex Henderson. The Bear quarterback came into the game with the Cougars having completed 58 of 103 passes for 849 yard and 10 touchdowns.
Against the Cougars, Henderson completed 13 of 27 passes for 247 yards and three scores, all of them to sophomore running back Brendan Shanklin. Henderson also ran for a pair of scores.
Despite the lopsided score, the Cougars played well enough to put three scores on the board, all of them coming through the passing game. Nathaniel Shartzer scored twice in the first quarter on throws of 29 and six yards from quarterback Tristan Willis, and Zach Johnson scored on a 24-yard pass from Noah Bullock in the fourth quarter.
The Bears had the ball to start the game and they took just a little over three minutes and nine plays to drive 74 yards for the first score of the night, with Henderson carrying in from a yard out to make it 7-0.
Grayson County picked up a first down on its first possession before stalling out at their own 35-yard line. Grayson County lined up to punt the ball away, but the Bears broke through to block the kick, sending it bounding backwards toward the Cougar goal. Sophomore defensive back Daltyn Havens fielded the ball and took it into the end zone and with 5:48 remaining in the first period, the Bears had a 14-0 lead.
The Cougars came out gunning on their next possession. After a first-down run was stuffed for a five-yard loss, Willis fired a completion to Johnson over the middle that went for 41 yards and a first down at the Bear 29.
Shartzer then got behind the Bear secondary and Willis threw a strike to him near the five and Shartzer was able to back into the end zone for the score. The extra-point try failed, but it was 14-6 with 4:31 left in the period.
Three incomplete Henderson passes forced the Bears to punt on their next possession and the Cougars took over at their own 41. Willis had runs of 12 and 20 yards to take the ball to the Bear 27.
Josh Meredith carried to the 14, then caught a Willis pass for a first-and-goal at the one. Jordan Stallings was thrown for a five-yard loss on first down, but Willis found an open Shartzer on second down for another score with just 13 seconds left in the first quarter. A two-point try failed, making it 14-12.
With Grayson County charged up and in the game against the high-powered Bears, Butler County showed why they came into the game averaging better than 45 points per game. They drove 56 yard in a little less than a minute and a half for a score that increased their lead to 21-12. Henderson hit Shanklin from six yards out at the 10:43 mark.
The Cougars covered a Bear fumble with 4:40 remaining in the first half and took over at their own 33. But on the next play, the Bears’ Jacob Hixenbaugh took it right back with the first of three Bear interceptions,
It took just one play for Henderson to hit Shanklin for a 39-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-12 with 4:22 left in the half.
The Cougars had moved to a first down near mid-field but when the drive bogged down they punted the ball away with a little over a minute left. That was more than enough time for the Bears to score again. Henderson hit Shanklin again for the touchdown, this time from 39 yards out. Butler County took a 35-12 lead into the half-time intermission.
The Cougars had the ball to begin the second half, and Willis gained 16 yards on first down. But on second down, Johnson lost the handle on a pitch out and the Bears covered the fumble at the Cougar 34-yard line. Two plays later Ian Embry carried in from 15 yards out to make it 42-12.
Neither team was able to score the rest of the third quarter, but as the final period began, the Bears were threatening again with a first-and-goal at the six. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Henderson carried in to make it 48-12 and the clock began to run continuously by the mercy rule.
Grayson County took the ensuing kick and began a 76-yard, six play drive for the final score of the night. Bullock hit Johnson from 24-yard out for the touchdown.
The Cougars (2-3) will hit the road this coming Friday as they head to Harned to take on old rival Breckinridge County (1-4). That game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.