It took 15 seconds for Independence to take the lead in Friday’s game against Butler. Lawrence Martin[singlepic=383,320,240,,right] ran the opening kickoff back for six points and kicker Robbie Ward added an extra point for a 7-0 score. Butler would not get closer the rest of the game as the Patriots overwhelmed the Bulldogs 49-7.

“I was a little surprised because Butler came out a little flat and Lawrence’s touchdown return stuck it to them a bit,” Knotts said after the game.

Martin finished with six catches for 95 yards and one touchdown to go with his kickoff return for a touchdown. He also had a 72 yard touchdown pass called back because of penalty on the Patriots’ first play from scrimmage.

“He’s made big plays for us all year,” said Knotts. “When he gets the ball in his hands he can do special things. He’s electric when he gets it.”

Photos by Mark Sward

[singlepic=382,320,240,,left] Quarterback Anthony Carrothers once again led the Independence offense. He rushed 15 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 169 yards and a touchdown. Butler had no answer for Carrothers for most of the game.

The Bulldogs were able to move the ball in the first half, but like the first matchup between the two teams, turned the ball over near the goal line when quarterback Christian LeMay tried to stretch for a touchdown on a one yard run.

“We gave up some yards in the first half but they had a turnover in the endzone and that broke their spirit.”

The Patriot’s win sets up a semifinal showdown with Richmond County at Independence Friday night. The Raiders (10-3-1) beat East Forsyth 38-24 Friday night, winning on the road for the third straight week.

Knotts told his team after the game they have to be prepared for Richmond County because they play a different brand of football.

“They drug West Charlotte which really surprised me,” Knotts said. “I saw some of it on TV and they looked like a quality team.”

For Butler, it will be yet another long off season to figure out how to get past Independence in the playoffs. The majority of the skill players on offense are sophomores, which bodes well for the future.