CLAYTON – For the second straight week the Butler Aviators found themselves facing an offensive juggernaut shorthanded, and unfortunately the results were the same.
Butler gave up 615 yards of total offense and couldn’t capitalize on chances in the red zone as they fell to Northmont 48-13 in the second year of the renewed rivalry against “The Team Across the Dam.”
The Thunderbolts were the first recipients of a traveling trophy called the Dam Jug that will be presented to the winner of the renewed rivalry each season. They improved to 3-1 on the season while Butler fell to 1-3.
While the score appeared lopsided, the Aviators weren’t without their chances.
On the game’s opening kickoff, a Northmont returner bobbled the ball and, after being batted around, the Aviators recovered the loose ball at the Thunderbolt 10-yard line.
Butler couldn’t take advantage, however, as they fumbled the ball away on the very next play and the Bolts recovered on the 8-yard line.
Northmont then marched 92 yards to score and take a 7-0 lead.
That theme – having the ball deep in Northmont territory and not being able to score – would recur throughout the game.
Butler answered the first score, though, after an interception by Dolen Fults. A 23-yard return after the interception set the Aviators up at the Northmont 38-yard line. The Aviators were aided by a fourth down completion to Daiton Sharp that kept the drive alive and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Northmont that moved Butler to the 10-yard line.
Quarterback Mason Motter found Sharp again on third down for a 9-yard scoring strike that, after an extra point by Sutton Skapik, tied the game at 7-7 with 4:28 in the first quarter.
Northmont scored again three minutes later, and rattled off 41 straight points to blow the game open.
Butler drove to Northmont’s 10-yard line while trailing 20-7, but three incomplete passes turned the ball over on downs to the Bolts who scored three minutes later to make it 27-7. They tacked on a 53-yard score just before halftime to extend the lead to 34-7.
Butler took the kickoff to open the second half and again drove to the Northmont 10-yard line. Motter was hit as he threw and the play was ruled a fumble which resulted in an 8-yard loss. Two busted pass plays later the Aviators turned the ball over on downs.
Northmont’s quarterback Miles Johnson, one of the GWOC’s top signal callers, connected on 20-of-22 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns – more yardage than the Aviators could muster as a team.
Motter completed 13-of-25 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Logan Flatt led the Aviators with 124 yards on the ground on 21 attempts.
Butler will travel to Stebbins on Friday, Sept. 22.