With the defense forcing turnovers and making stops, Butler’s offense just needed to hold onto the football and finish drives.
Though both teams had turnover woes, the Bulldogs got enough offensively thanks to Christan Garnett and the rest of the rushing attack as the Bulldogs beat Hephzibah, 26-6, on Thursday night at Butler.
The win ended a six-game Butler losing streak in the series against Hephzibah and clinched the Bulldogs’ second consecutive winning season, the first time that’s happened since Butler had three in a row from 1987-1989.
“I don’t think the offense wanted to play,” Butler coach Ashley Harden said. “But the defense kept saying, ‘No. We’re going to win this game.’ ”
Neither team was very sharp offensively in a first half under steady rain as the two combined for six turnovers after two quarters, with the Bulldogs’ Yashem Coleman picking off two Terry Robinson passes. Butler was also stopped at the 1-yard line on two fourth-down plays in the game.
The first offensive play of the night was even a turnover, when Butler quarterback Clayton Johnson threw an interception.
He later atoned for his pick by powering forward on fourth-and-goal from the 5 to give Butler (6-1) the lead at 14-6 at the half.
When the Bulldogs’ ground game didn’t lose possession, it was tough to stop, as Butler rushed for more than 330 yards.
Garnett was the star, rushing for 175 yards and three touchdowns.
His longest run gave the Bulldogs a safer edge when he rushed for 63 yards early in the third quarter to make it 20-6.
Butler’s first three offensive plays in the third quarter – not including ones involving penalties – went for a combined 109 yards.
Garnett scored the game’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Rebels (0-7) struck first, taking advantage of the Johnson interception, but Hephzibah didn’t score again.