May 26, 2024

Revenge Served Cold; Broncbusters Football Beats Butler Behind Powerful Rushing Attack

Quarterback Jalen Daniels, #8, and running back Fred Davis, #6, each scored in the win (Credit Adam Shrimplin, Garden City Athletics)

GARDEN CITY, KS. – Defensive Coordinator Chenelle Jones mentioned that this game had been circled on the schedule from before recruiting visits started. They remembered last year’s painful loss at this time last year, and made sure to flip the script in act one of their 2023 season.

The Garden City Broncbusters defeated the Butler Grizzlies, 27-22, Thursday night at Broncbuster Stadium. It was a first game that had everything in it; chunk plays, big hits, penalties, everything expected to see in an opening game.

Last year saw Butler run all over Garden City’s defensive front seven, totaling 226 yards in last year’s win in El Dorado. This time around, the Broncbusters held firm, holding the Grizzlies to just 62 rushing yards in the victory.

Both teams looked strong defensively to open the game, Garden City’s defense forcing a Butler three-and-out to open up the contest, only giving up one first down in the opening quarter.

Garden City’s new quarterback, Jalen Daniels, took the game by the horns in the early second quarter. The six-foot, five-inch quarterback scampered away from an oncoming pass rusher, escaped to the sideline, and darted 18 yards for a rushing touchdown to give GCCC the first points of the season.

Daniels was playing in his first-ever collegiate game, after not appearing for South Carolina last season. The quarterback finished 14-of-21 for 142 yards through the air, adding 29 rushing yards and the score on the ground.

Butler’s only big rush play came late on into the second quarter. Former Oklahoma running back Seth McGowan broke off a tackle and exploded up the middle for a 30-yard touchdown run, tying the game at seven going into the half.

Garden City had dominated time of possession, holding the ball for over 20 minutes in the first half. In the second half, they began to wear down Butler’s defense, leading to three rushing touchdowns.

James Jones scored the first of his two touchdowns deep into the third quarter, capping off an 87-yard drive with a score of 14 yards. Garden City’s ensuing extra point was blocked and returned 97 yards by safety Ashton Levells for the two-point conversion, meaning it was only a 13-9 lead.

The one thing Garden City’s defense didn’t do in the first half was create turnovers, but they did just that to help add onto their lead. On a pivotal third down, Garden City collapsed the pocket, causing quarterback Tanner Murray to fumble.

Sam Ofurie recovered the fumble, setting Garden City up with good field position. Ofurie was incredible in the win, recording six tackles, four tackles for loss, and the fumble recovery.

Daniels would hit sophomore Geovanni Ribalta for a 35-yard pass, setting up Mercer transfer Fred Davis to pound it in three plays later for a two-yard score, giving the Broncbusters a 10-point lead.

Davis finished with 64 rushing yards and a score in his Broncbusters debut, adding 13 receiving yards.

Butler would keep the game interesting after Freshman wide out Dominick Foster cut the lead to 19-16, but Garden City’s ground-and-pound offense proved too much. Jones took his best run of the night, bouncing to the outside for a 31-yard score to deliver the dagger.

Jones, who missed last year’s game against Butler, finished with 118 yards, roughly seven yards per carry, and two touchdowns in the win over the Grizzlies. The Baltimore, MD. native only had two rushing touchdowns in the entirety of his Freshman season.

The Grizzlies gave Broncbuster fans a scare when they recovered an onside kick with under 1:30 to go, but safety Cameron Upshaw, Jr. put the game to bed with a fourth-down interception to seal the win.

The Broncbuster defense held Butler to roughly 13 points under their season average in 2022, all while forcing three turnovers and just 62 rushing yards. It was a big-time turnaround for a defense that conceded 35 points in each of the first three games last season.

Garden City moves to 1-0 on the season, and will get an extra two days off. The Broncbusters travel to Fort Dodge, Iowa for their week two matchup against Iowa Central (0-0, opens season Saturday at Independence) on September 2nd. Coverage begins at 11:30 A.M. on KWKR 99.9 “The Rock”, with kickoff scheduled for 12:00 P.M.