By Rick Dunaway
Special to The Globe
SARCOXIE, Mo. —
A two-minute nightmare ended Sarcoxie’s Halloweeen night football dreams.
Butler marched 65 yards in 1 minute, 47 seconds for the go-ahead touchdown with just 39 seconds remaining to escape Sarcoxie with a 33-30 victory in the Class 2, District 4 semifinal Wednesday night.
It was Butler’s first lead of the game, and came after Sarcoxie’s Marcos Lopez gave his team a two-score advantage by drilling a season-long 37-yard field goal. The kick soared about 10 feet above the crossbar.
“I thought we had (the game) then,” said Lopez, who has kicked a 64-yarder in practice with a tee, but has forsaken the tee to kick off the ground like the NFL kickers. “But things changed a lot.”
Butler roared back with a 15-play, 65-yard drive that chewed up 5:13, culminating in a 2-yard run by Tyler McGuire. It was McGuire’s fourth touchdown of the game, following runs of 25, 5 and 10 yards.
Sarcoxie successfully recovered the ensuing onside kick, but suffered a three-and-out, muffing a handoff for a seven-yard loss on third down to force a punt.
Butler took over at the 2:16 mark with no timeouts and 65 yards to go. Senior quarterback Kolten Kauffman took over.
Kauffman completed five passes on that drive alone, connecting with his favorite target — fellow senior Trey Mareth — for the last eight yards to send Butler (8-3) into a Monday night game at Lamar.
Butler coach Kirk Hannah said he thought he had spotted some weaknesses in Sarcoxie’s defense that he could exploit, if his own defense could get a couple of stops.
“Thankfully, we got some stops,” Hannah said.
“We saw some things we thought we could do if we gave him some time,” Hannah said. “We finally gave him a few seconds. He’s a senior, and he kind of played possessed.”
Sarcoxie took a 13-7 first-quarter lead on a 33-yard pass-and-run from Conor Jones to Austin Lynch and an 8-yard run from Jade Bloss.
Tanner McGuire got Butler on the scoreboard in the second quarter on his 25-yard run, but Sarcoxie responded, springing Logan Jones on an inside reverse for a 43-yard touchdown.
Butler came back strong in the second half, outscoring Sarcoxie 26-9.
Sarcoxie coach Luke Rader was nearly at a loss for words at the final Butler drive. The march was punctuated by a 15-yard personal foul penalty when a hard hit of a receiver on an incompletion was ruled a personal foul. That turned a third-and-15 situation into a first down in the red zone.
“It was just one of things; I can’t really say much about it,” Rader said. “Obviously we’re disappointed. I told the kids after the game that when you put in as much work as they had, it’s gonna hurt. It was one of those deals where whatever could go wrong did go wrong for about the last five minutes.”