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Butler Bulldogs Drop Hoosier Helmet Trophy Game to Valparaiso On Senior Day

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, looking for a win on Senior Day during Butler Family Weekend, hosted the Valparaiso Crusaders in a Pioneer Football League matchup on Saturday, November 11. The annual Hoosier Helmet Trophy rivalry gamed ended in 36-28 Butler loss at the Sellick Bowl. The Bulldogs finish the campaign with a winning record of 6-5 (4-4 PFL). Valparaiso improves to 5-5 (4-3 PFL) and reclaims the Hoosier Helmet Trophy.

The Bulldogs received the opening kick and started at their own 35-yard line after the kick rolled out of bounds. A 21-yard pass from redshirt junior QB Will Marty to redshirt sophomore RB Brad Sznajder on 3rd and 8 set Butler up with a new set of downs at the VU 42. A pair of five-yard rushes back-to-back from Sznajder set up a 1st and 10 at the VU 21. The Bulldogs only gained four yards on a run from redshirt senior RB Sam Schrader on 3rd and 9, but the Bulldogs were still able to strike first as sophomore K Drew Bevelhimer connected on a 34-yard field goal on 4th and 5 with 9:11 remaining in the first quarter.

The Valparaiso Crusaders, hungry to reclaim the Hoosier Helmet Trophy, came out of the gates hot and scored 17 unanswered points in their first three possessions. The first Valpo possession started at its own 27-yard line. A defensive pass interference on Butler senior S Isaak Newhouse on 2nd and 1 gave the Crusaders a 1st and 10 at the VU 48. On 2nd and 11, sophomore QB Jimmy Seewald found senior RB Jarrett Morgan underneath and watched as it turned into a 53-yard touchdown.  The touchdown took only three plays and covered 73 yards in 1:39. A Butler three-and-out resulted in another 3 play, 59-yard touchdown drive in 1:17 for Valpo. After an 8-yard Seewald pass, Seewald connected with junior WR Griffin Norberg for 42 yards to the Butler 9-yard line. Seewald then found junior WR Jean Rene for the nine-yard score. The touchdowns gave the Crusaders a 14-3 lead with 5:05 remaining in the game.

The Bulldogs struggled on their next possession as a strip sack on 3rd and 9 at the Butler 48-yard line bounced to Valpo. The Valpo offense started at the BU 39 and marched to the BU 24 before the Bulldogs made a 3rd and 8 stop. Valpo still found three points off the Butler turnover as sophomore K Dimitrios Latsonas converted on the 40-yard field goal attempt to give the Crusaders an early 17-3 lead with 0:59 remaining in the first quarter.

The next Butler drive started at the its own 41-yard line. An 11-yard completion from Marty to junior WR Pace Temple and helped move the ball Valparaiso territory.  The Bulldogs attempted to go for the first down on a 4th & 7 at the VU 34, but only came up with six yards on a pass to Temple.

Following the turnover on downs, the Butler defense forced a Valpo three-and-out on the next possession. Following the Valpo punt, the Bulldogs started at their own 39-yard line. A 12-yard rush from redshirt junior RB John Hall moved the ball to the VU 31. Following an incomplete pass on 3rd and 2 at the VU 23, the Bulldogs again decided to try and move the chains on 4th down. This time, Sam Schrader connected with redshirt junior TE Jacob Lewis for a 23-yard play-action touchdown pass that brought the score to 17-10 in favor of Valpo with 9:52 before halftime.

Both teams traded punts before Valpo found the endzone again. A 17-yard pass on 1st and 10 at the VU 36 from Seewald to junior TE Mason Stutter set the Crusaders up with 1st and 10 at the BU 47. On 3rd and 10 at the BU 30, Seewald found freshman WR Donny Navarro for a 30-yard touchdown. The Valpo score game the Crusaders a 24-10 lead with 5:23 remaining before the half.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Redshirt Junior Running Back John Hall

But the Bulldogs answered with a touchdown drive of their own on the next possession. Starting the drive at the BU 32, a first down pass from Marty to redshirt sophomore WR Stephen Dennis down the left sideline resulted in a gain of 32 yards to the VU 45. On 3rd and 8 at the VU 43, Marty connected with redshirt junior RB Anthony Scaccia for 19 yards to the VU 24. Three straight rushing attempts for 12 total yards by Sam Schrader set Butler up with a 2nd and 9 at the VU 12. Faced with a 4th and 3, the Bulldogs decided to test their luck again as Sam Schrader picked up the three yards needed for a new set of downs. On the next play, redshirt senior RB Duvante Lane punched it in from three yards out for a Butler touchdown with 1:02 remaining in the second quarter.

Valpo started at its own 27-yard line on the next possession and completed passes of eight and six yards before redshirt sophomore S Luke Sennett grabbed an interception to stop the drive. The Bulldogs would run down the clock on a seven-yard rush from Lane to send the teams to halftime with the 24-17 lead in favor of Valparaiso.

After forcing a Valpo punt, the Butler offense looked ready to tie the game at the beginning of the third quarter and started at their own 28-yard line. On 3rd and 6 at the BU 32, junior CB Jalin LeAndre intercepted a Marty pass, but fumbled during his 26-yard return. Unfortunately for Butler, senior NT Tristan De La Rosa recovered for the Crusaders at the Butler four yard line. Valpo scored another touchdown on 2nd and G at the Butler three yard line with a run from redshirt freshman QB Chris Duncan. The touchdown brought the Valpo lead to 30-17 with 8:30 remaining in the third quarter.

Butler failed to convert on two 4th down attempts, but forced a Valparaiso punt as the third quarter ended with the score at 30-17.

Following a Butler turnover on downs, Valpo was able to add three more points on a drive that started in the final minutes of the third quarter as Latsonas connected on a 37-yard field goal to increase the lead to 33-17 with 14:36 remaining in the game.

But the Bulldogs were able to keep things interesting as they responded with another touchdown drive. Butler took over at its own 23 yard line and immediately moved the chains after a 1st and 10 pass from Marty to Temple resulted in an 18-yard gain to the BU 41. Marty found Dennis for 11 yards on 3rd and 10 to move the ball to the VU 48 yard line. A six-yard run from Sznajder helped move the chains on 3rd and 2 at the VU 40 before Marty connected with Temple on a 28-yard pass down to the VU 6. A defensive pass interference on 2nd and G set Butler up with a 1st and G at the VU 2 before Sam Schrader scored from two yards out. Butler converted the 2-point conversion attempt on an option toss-play to Lane, who ran it to the right and scored from three yards out. The Butler score brought the lead to 33-25 with 10:06 remaining in the game.

The Butler defense, in need of a Valpo punt, was unable come up with a stop. Valpo converted a 3rd and 10 at the VU 25 with a 22-yard pass play to Navarro and on 3rd and 15 at the VU 42 with a 19-yard rush from Morgan. The Bulldogs also gave up 21 yards on a catch by Norberg on 3rd and 6 at the BU 35 down to the BU 14. Valpo added three points on a 32-yard field goal on 4th &1 at the BU 5 with 3:51 remaining.

The Bulldogs continued to fight and move the ball with passing gains of 11 yards to Dennis and 16 yards to Temple after starting on their own 30 yard line. A two-yard rush by Marty on 3rd and 1 at the VU 34 kept the drive alive, but the clock ticking. Marty connected with Temple for eight yards on 3rd and 7 at the VU 29 to the VU 21. But the Bulldogs missed on a 3rd and 4 pass and were forced to kick the 32-yard field goal attempt. The Bevelhimer kick was good and trimmed the Valpo lead to 36-28 with 1:15 remaining.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the onside kick attempt ended up in Valparaiso possession. The Crusaders kneeled out the clock for the 36-28 win.

Butler junior WR Pace Temple finished with 10 catches for 124 yards. It was the eighth 100-yard game of his Butler career. The junior also went over 1,000 yards on the season, becoming just the fourth Bulldog in program history to achieve that mark.

Redshirt junior QB Will Marty had 250 yards and an interception on a 22-39 performance. Redshirt senior RB Sam Schrader led the ground attack with 70 yards and a rushing touchdown on 15 carries. Schrader also had 23 yards passing and a touchdown on a 1-5 performance.

Redshirt senior RB Duvante Lane finished with 39 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.

Sophomore QB Jimmy Seewald had 285 yards, one interception and three touchdown passes for the Crusaders.

Senior LB Ethan Brunhofer and sophomore LB Mason Brunner each had six tackles for the Bulldogs, while redshirt senior DE Josh Willis had a sack and three tackles for loss in his final Butler contest. Redshirt junior CB Mike Cerone recorded a sack and sophomore S Luke Sennett had an interception for the Bulldogs.

In a pregame ceremony, the team’s 21 seniors in addition to a student assistant coach were recognized.

Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.

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