Despite a career-high 308 passing yards by sophomore Matt Kobli and a school-record four touchdown catches by junior Dan Bohrer, Butler fell in its home-opener to non-league foe Franklin, 31-28, at the Butler Bowl on Saturday (Sept. 13). The game marked the first meeting between the two central Indiana teams since 1987.
Kobli and Bohrer hooked up on ten passes for 156 yards and Butler's four scores. The receiving totals were a career-high for the Butler flanker from Guilford (East Central). The four touchdown receptions matched the school mark set by Dave Oliver against St. Joseph's in 1974.
The Bulldogs (1-1-0) jumped out to a 14-0 lead on a 48-yard Kobli to Bohrer pass in the first quarter and a 10-yard scoring aerial in the second period. Franklin (2-0-0) cut the lead in half on a three-yard Chad Rupp to Matt Gates touchdown pass with 1:38 remaining in the first half, and the second period ended with Butler on top 14-7.
Rupp took charge in the second half. The Franklin signal caller led the Grizzlies to 17 consecutive points and put his team on top for good in the third quarter. He led a 58-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown run by Jon-Erik Bennett to tie the game just over two minutes into the third quarter, and then, following a Rex Olds' pass interception at the Butler 14-yard line 15 seconds later, he gave the Grizzlies the lead for good with a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kevin Lynch.
Junior Machy Magadalinos, who was perfect on four PAT kicks in the game, made it 17 straight unanswered points for the Grizzlies and provided the eventual margin of victory with a 30-yard field goal with 8:52 remaining in the third period.
Butler cut the margin to three, 24-21, on an eight-yard Kobli to Bohrer scoring pass, but the Grizzlies went back up by 10 on Rupp's two-yard touchdown pass to Cole Zook with just under five minutes remaining in the game.
But the Bulldogs weren't done. Kobli found Bohrer with a 10-yard touchdown pass to cap a 60-yard scoring drive that took just 2:29, and the fourth PAT kick from senior Jordan Quiroz made it a three-point game. Butler then recovered an on-sides kick with just over two minutes remaining, but Franklin held the Bulldogs on four plays, before running out the clock.
Rupp finished the game with 29 completions in 47 attempts for 394 yards and just one interception. Senior Neil Craig caught six of those passes for 129 yards. Kobli countered with a career-high 29 completions in 48 attempts with two interceptions. Kobli added 24 rushing yards and finished with 332 yards in total offense.
Senior Mike Bennett and junior Spencer Summerville led Butler's defense with 10 tackles apiece. Bennett also have Butler's pass interception, while Summerville had a fumble recovery. Nick Cochran topped the Grizzlies with 15 tackles.
The Bulldogs will play their second consecutive home contest next weekend, when they host Hanover on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 1 p.m.