Football: Butler routs Valpo, still in the hunt for postseason

KYLE BEERY | ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

The Butler football team still has the postseason in its sights after a 72-12 rout of rival Valparaiso in the Hoosier Helmet Game Saturday.

The Bulldogs (8-3, 6-1 Pioneer Football League) won their second consecutive game to remain in a three-way tie atop the PFL standings with San Diego and Marist.

The Bulldogs broke a school record with 717 yards of total offense. They also broke the school’s modern-era record for points scored.

San Diego and Marist also won Saturday, leaving the season’s playoff outcome to this Saturday’s contests.

With a win over Morehead State, the Bulldogs can win at least a share of the league title, but with an automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs going to the PFL champion, even more is at stake.

In order to clinch a postseason berth, the Bulldogs would need San Diego to lose to Drake, as the Toreros hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over both Butler and Marist.

They also need Marist to lose to Mercer because the Red Foxes would edge out the Bulldogs in the second tiebreaker due to the margin of loss against San Diego.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs looked to be in for a tough Senior Day contest as Valparaiso took an early 6-0 lead. But Butler scored 38 unanswered points to take a 45-12 lead into halftime.

The Bulldogs scored 27 more unanswered points in the second half.

Butler coach Jeff Voris said the team played one of its most complete games of the year.

“We’ve been really good in spurts at different times during the year,” Voris said. “We’ve really been challenging them to play 60 minutes, and I thought for the first time this year we really did that.”

Senior quarterback Matt Lancaster closed out his Butler home career with 317 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also added 30 rushing yards.

Senior running back Trae Heeter led the ground attack with 115 yards and a touchdown. Junior running back Rico Watson racked up 71 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game with an apparent knee injury.

Senior wide receiver Brendan Shannon caught three of Lancaster’s touchdowns and Heeter had the other, an 84-yard play to close out the first half.

The Bulldogs will travel to Kentucky over the weekend to face the Eagles.

The Eagles sit at 3-7 overall,  including 3-4 in PFL play.

Kickoff for the Bulldogs is at 1 p.m. Marist also kicks off  from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. at 1 p.m. and San Diego plays at 4 p.m.

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