Butler football coach David Land hoped to celebrate his birthday Friday night with a victory over Region 3-AAAA rival Glenn Hills. Running backs Kelvin Brown and Cornell Scales helped deliver the perfect gift.
Brown and Scales combined for 400 yards rushing as the Bulldogs (1-1) handed Glenn Hills a 40-21 loss in the Spartans' season opener at Lumpkin Road Stadium. Brown, who gained 199 yards on 13 carries, scored four touchdowns, including runs of 50, 63 and 43 yards.
"I give all the credit to my front line," Brown said. "Without them, I couldn't have done it. We had to redeem ourselves from last week against Laney (a 21-0 loss), when we didn't play that well. We ended up doing what we had to do, especially since we wanted to give Coach Land a very good birthday present."
After Scales opened the scoring with a 48-yard burst to the right side late in the first quarter, Brown scored his first touchdown on a 5-yard run up the middle with five minutes left in the half. Two minutes later, Brown broke through the line again and dashed to the left corner for a 50-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a 21-0 lead.
Sophomore Gary Rodgers scored the Spartans' first touchdown on the next possession with a 35-yard run. On Butler's first play after the kickoff, Scales ran around the left side for the longest play of the game - an 80-yard run with just under two minutes left in the half. Butler led 27-7.
It also ended an offensive explosion that saw both teams combine for 28 points in a 3 1/2 -minute span.
Glenn Hills, which went 1-9 in 2000, has struggled in recent years, but the Spartans saw a glimmer of hope with a respectable offensive output Friday. Despite the absence of junior running back Ricky Dunn for most of the game, they still managed to rush for 219 yards.
Dunn ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2000, but sat out the entire first half and carried the ball only four times in the second, for 11 yards. Junior quarterback Vander Thompkins gained 75 yards on eight carries and scored on a 3-yard run to open the second half.
"Coach (Felix) Curry's done a good job with those guys in the short time he's had them," Land said. "It's a good win for us because it's a big rivalry."
"We knew going into the season that we were young on the offensive line, but we knew we had some good skill people," said Land, now in his seventh year with the Bulldogs. "Cornell and Kelvin can run between the tackles and then they've got the speed to get outside. What a one-two punch!"
The Spartans failed to contain the formidable Bulldog duo of Brown and Scales in the second half. Brown broke his last two touchdowns late in the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 40-14 lead. His third touchdown of the game was the most impressive, when he raced 43 yards down the sideline after breaking four tackles.