VANDALIA – The Butler Aviators wasted little time showing their strengths versus Shawnee last night as they used two plays to go 54 yards for the first of eight touchdowns in a 56-28 victory over visiting Shawnee on Friday night.
The win sets the Aviators at 1-0 on the year and marks the second straight season that Butler has scored 50+ points against the Braves.
The scoring play was a 36 yard pass from Chandler Craine to Treylann Sanders at 8:45 of the first quarter. Butler elected to go for a two-point conversion but the pass fell incomplete to give the Aviators a 6-0 lead.
Craine completed 17 of 27 passes for 276 yards and four touchdowns.
Shawnee dominated the remainder of the first quarter, however, as the Braves put a pair of touchdowns on the board to take a 14-6 lead.
Things didn’t look good for the Aviators after their offense sputtered, but Butler’s defense provided the spark that blunted Shawnee’s momentum and got the Aviators rolling.
With Shawnee at their own 15-yard line, Butler’s Gavin Kohler sacked Michael Guyer in the end zone for a safety that brought the Aviators to within 14-8.
Following the safety, the Aviators took over at midfield and took just four plays to march 51 yards for a score by Nic Martin from two yards out to tie the game at 14-14.
Martin led all rushers with 123 yards on nine carries, an average of nearly 14 yards per carry. He also scored two touchdowns. Logan Flatt had 10 carries for 30 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Aviators regained the lead four minutes later on a 5-yard pass from Craine to Dawson Vandervort followed by an extra point kick by Andrew Boren. The Aviators led 21-14 with 7:27 to play in the second quarter, but once again, the Braves responded.
Taking over at their own 11-yard line, Shawnee put together a 12-play, 89-yard drive to tie the score at 21-21 at intermission.
Butler lowered the boom in the third period, and again it was the defense that got it started.
The Aviators recovered a Shawnee fumble on the Braves’ 13-yard line, and Martin took advantage on the very next play by rambling for a 13-yard score. Boren kicked the point after and Butler led 28-21 just 19 seconds into the third quarter.
Shawnee was forced to punt on their next possession and the Aviators again had excellent field position deep in Braves’ territory. Matt Grossman was on the receiving end of another touchdown pass from Craine, this on from eight yards away, and Butler upped its lead to 34-21.
Flatt closed the door on the Braves and scored Butler’s third touchdown of the quarter on a one yard run followed by a two point conversion run by Dustin Lewis and the Aviators doubled up the Braves 42-21.
Shawnee scored at the end of the period to cut into Butler’s lead, but it was too little, too late.
The Aviators tacked on a pair of scores in the final quarter to set the final score. Craine connected with Lewis from 23 yards out for a score followed by an extra point by Boren to up the score to 49-28. Flatt ended the scoring with a four yard touchdown followed by another extra point by Boren.
Jack Mitchell led the Butler receiving corps with four catches for 67 yards. Noah Ballard had two receptions for 43 yards, Tyler Burley caught two passes for 41 yards, and Dustin Lewis had two catches for 37 yards.
Grossman had nine tackles, including one for a loss, followed by Zack Jackson with eight, Martin with seven, and Vinnie Fiori with six.
The Aviators will host Tecumseh in Week 2 where they will also honor longtime coach Mike Berry who passed away this summer. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.