Gessinger’s kick return sparks Valparaiso past Butler 35-17

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Bailey Gessinger took the second-half kickoff and raced 97 yards for a touchdown to spark Valparaiso to a 35-17 victory over Butler in Pioneer Football League play on Saturday.

Cody Boxrucker added three TD runs for the Crusaders (1-5, 1-2), who picked up their first win of the season and laid claim to the Hoosier Helmet for a second straight year in the battle between long-time rivals.

Valparaiso jumped out to a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter on Jimmy Seewald’s 22-yard scoring strike to Griffin Norberg and Boxrucker’s 1-yard TD plunge.

Butler (3-3, 1-2) pulled even at 14 in the second quarter on a pair of TD passes from Will Marty to Pace Temple covering 5 and 4 yards.

But Gessinger’s kick-return score gave Valparaiso the lead for good and Boxrucker added TD runs of 5 and 2 yards in the fourth quarter.