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Butler defeats Hephzibah to end skid in series

Butler 26, Hephzibah 6

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With the defense forcing turnovers and making stops, Butler’s offense just needed to hold onto the football and finish drives.

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Butler's Rymel Jones tries to escape Marion Stone. With the win, Butler is assured a winning season.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Butler's Rymel Jones tries to escape Marion Stone. With the win, Butler is assured a winning season.

TEAM PAGE: Butler Bulldogs

TEAM PAGE: Hephzibah Rebels

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.

BUTLER 26, HEPHZIBAH 6

PLAY OF THE GAME: With his team leading 14-6 in the third quarter, Butler’s Christan Garnett took the ball outside for a 63-yard touchdown. The run put him past the 100-yard mark in the game.

STAR OF THE GAME: Garnett rushed the ball 18 times, gaining 175 yards and scoring three times.

WHY BUTLER WON: The Bulldogs’ defense forced turnovers and the offense moved well when it didn’t turn it over. It ended the Bulldogs’ six-game losing streak to the Rebels and sealed a winning season.

WHY HEPHZIBAH LOST: The Rebels couldn’t keep possession and struggled to stop Butler’s rushing attack.

NEXT: Hephzibah at Cross Creek, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21. Butler at Glenn Hills,
7:30 p.m. Oct. 21.


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