Saturday -- December 6, 2003 --
St. George, Utah
Dixie for NJCAA Title
For the fourth time in their history, the Butler County Community
College (Kan.) Grizzlies are the champions of the junior college
The Grizzles, who finished the 2003 season with a perfect 12-0
record, overcame several turnovers and came up big on defense in
the second half to beat the Dixie State College Rebels 14-10 Saturday
in the Dixie Rotary Bowl in St. George, Utah. The bowl was officially
sanctioned by the NJCAA as the national championship game.
The Grizzlies got off to a slow start in the first half, turning
the ball over twice on fumbles, which eventually led to all 10 of
Dixie States first half points. The Grizzlies came out of
hibernation in the second half, however, particularly on the defensive
side of the ball and held the Rebels scoreless the rest of the way.
A second half touchdown and safety were all Butler needed to seal
its fourth national championship since 1981.
Our kids hung in there and played a heck of a game,
said Butler head coach Troy Morrell. Were fortunate
to come out of here with a win. It was a tough game.
I just have to give credit to our players, Morrell
continued. Theyre the ones who hung in there through
all the adversity that theyve faced all year long. We faced
it again today and they found a way to come out of that locker room
(in the second half) and look like a different team.
The Rebels came out of the blocks strong defensively in the first
quarter. After drawing first blood with a 22-yard field goal mid-way
through the first quarter following a fumble recovery, Dixie State
defensive back Brandon Sanchez stripped the ball in stride to run
for a 32-yard touchdown to put his team up 10-0 with 7:21 to play
in the half.
Butler County got on the board soon thereafter behind a 55-yard
kickoff return and ensuing touchdown run by running back Terry Petrie
to bring the Grizzles to within four points prior to the half.
Butlers first drive of the second half was capped with a
two-yard run by quarterback Chad Wilmott, giving Butler its first
lead of the game at 12-10.
The Rebels again had a chance to capitalize on what could have
been a costly second half Butler fumble on the goal line, the second
of that variety for Butler in the game, but failed to convert that
recovery into points.
A Butler safety on a DSC punt attempt put the Grizzles up for good
late in the fourth quarter. The Butler defense then slammed the
door on two Dixie State drives, coming up with interceptions on
both occasions to end the game.
Im pleased with our players, said DSC head coach
Greg Croshaw. They absolutely hung in there and fought as
hard as they could.
The kicking game was a problem for both teams. In addition to the
safety, the Rebels squandered two field goal opportunities earlier
in the game. Butler missed both of its extra point tries.
The MVP of the game for Butler was quarterback Chad Wilmott, who
threw for 78 yards on 9 of 21 passing and ran for one touchdown.
Overall, the Grizzlies rushed for 225 yards on the day, with 143
of them coming from running back Joseph Harris.
Dixies MVP was defensive back Brandon Sanchez, who scored
the Rebels only touchdown. The Rebels mustered 140 yards of
total offense, all of which came in the first half. DSC quarterback
Adam Madsen was held to 8 of 29 completions on 89 yards passing.
Running back David Anger led the Rebels on the ground with 67 yards
rushing. Dixie State finished the season with a 10-2 record.
Saturdays meeting marked the fourth overall between the two
teams in the Dixie Rotary Bowl and the third in the past five years.
Todays game also marked the second meeting between the two
teams with the national championship on the line. Butler captured
its third national championship in 1999 in the Dixie Rotary Bowl
with a 49-35 victory over the Rebels. The two teams met in the inaugural
Dixie Rotary Bowl in 1986.
For more information about the Rotary Bowl, visit www.rotarybowl.com.