Manson NW grad will wrap up college career in playoffs
The night before the final regular-season football game of his career, Tim Butcher was wondering how it was going to end while reminiscing about his career at Northern Iowa.
“Leading into the last game of my career, I was laying in bed and started going down that rabbit hole,” said the 2015 Manson Northwest Webster graduate. “Thinking about this potentially being my final time suiting up (at UNI).
“I wanted it to be a good game and I wanted to finish it all with a win and do my best.”
The FCS playoffs seemed like a long shot at the time. But the Panthers aren’t done yet.
Butcher, a former Cougar all-stater and an eventual standout at Iowa Central, has become a reliable defensive presence during his time in Cedar Falls.
Northern Iowa, is making its 22nd appearance in the FCS playoffs, which begin this Saturday. The Panthers will take on fifth-ranked Eastern Washington in a road assignment.
This will be the third postseason meeting with the Eagles. The other two have ended in UNI victories.
“It was great to find out we made the playoffs,” Butcher said. “Everyone is 0-0 and you never know what is going to happen.
“It’s all about putting in work and then we’ll go from there. It’s nice to not be playing a Missouri Valley Conference team again.”
Butcher played in 30 games as a defensive tackle for the Panthers. The playoff game will be his 12th this fall, in addition to the four from the spring. He played times 15 in 2019 and saw action in four contests as a Panther in 2018.
“For me, playing at UNI was just about getting to and competing at the next level,” Butcher said. “UNI has been such a great family experience.”
The final regular season game against Western Illinois last week was Senior day. With a strong family backing, it was a special day for Butcher.
“It was really special,” Butcher said. “My friends, family and coaches have shown me a lot of support over the years.
“The Manson Northwest Webster community has been there every step of the way.”
This season, Butcher has 40 tackles, including a season-high eight against South Dakota. He has 8.5 tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
In his career at UNI, Butcher has 81 tackles, 20 TFL and three sacks.
Playing for head coach Mark Farley has been a memorable experience for the Palmer native.
“It’s a rollercoaster ride, but in a positive way,” Butcher said. “He can really get you fired up. He coaches hard nosed football.”
Prior to Northern Iowa, Butcher had 74 tackles in 11 games for Iowa Central.
In high school, Butcher earned all-state honors as a junior and senior at Manson Northwest Webster. He led the Cougars to playoff appearances as a sophomore and junior.
With his football career winding down, Butcher is trying to cherish every remaining moment.
“I’m going to miss hanging out with these guys,” Butcher said. “I’m going to move back home to Palmer and help on the family farm.”