Last season the Butler Bulldogs football team put up scoring numbers that rivaled any high school program in the nation. That team had Christian LeMay at quarterback throwing and running behind an experienced offensive line.
As Butler began this season without LeMay there were many questions looming as to how effective the offense would be. Sophomore Riley Ferguson was suddenly thrust into the starting QB role very late in the summer. The fact that he would have five offensive linemen in front of him who never had started before this season did not bode well for Butler.
The results of this season so far: The Bulldogs are 15-0 and are playing in the state championship this Saturday.
“We knew we were going to be young on offense,” says Head Coach Mike Newsome. “Now they’ve got 15 games under them and their playing like juniors and seniors.”
Sure, Butler has a dominating defense that could carry any team to the championship on their backs. The defense is not the only reason this team is undefeated, though. Two times this season the Bulldogs would have lost had the offense not posted more than 30 points.
In a volatile game at Lenoir-Hibriten, Butler edged the Panthers 35-28. In that hostile environment, it would have been easy for the Bulldogs to mail-it-in and take a loss. Their offense fought for every yard gained and was able to outscore Hibriten’s talented playmakers.
Last week Butler played a Vance team that had only been giving up single digits throughout the playoffs. Vance put points on the board early and late in the game, and if the Cougar defense had shut down Butler like Mallard Creek the week before, Butler would be sitting at home this Saturday. The Bulldogs scored 44 points on a team with a very strong defense.
“Coming into that game, they said that we really didn’t have an offense,” says Jahwan Edwards. “They said that if they could beat the offense, then they could win. I took that as an insult, the quarterback took that as an insult, and the offensive line took that as an insult. We came out here and smashed these guys.”
Like Ferguson at QB, many of Butler’s starters are underclassmen. Riley’s older brother Zach is the starting wide-out. Zach Ferguson deserves much more respect than to just be known as Riley’s brother. Zach threw the touchdown pass against Vance last week. Sean Wiggins is at tight-end, with senior Kris Frost coming in at wide-out in many
situations. Uriah LeMay and Demetrius Kelly fill the twin half-back roles. Of course the heart of the offense is senior running back Jahwan Edwards.
Butler’s starting left tackle is junior Brandon McNeely. Connor Howard is also a junior and starts at left guard. Fellow junior Nathan Woitovich snaps the ball at center. The only senior on the offensive line is right guard Nick Sansotta. Sophomore Joey Moody is the starting right tackle.
“The offensive line has been getting better and better every day,” says Edwards. “I love these guys. They don’t get their names in the paper; they don’t get the respect they deserve.”
Thanks to Butler’s offensive line, Edwards has rushed for over 1,200 yards this season. Butler is averaging 46 points per game with an offense that currently posts only two seniors in the starting lineup. Their average margin of victory this season is 30 points. The Bulldogs don’t play the most dramatic of contests, but no one is complaining.
“We just go out and play our game,” says quarterback Riley Ferguson. “It doesn’t matter how good the other defense is.”
How good has Ferguson been as a first year quarterback? He’s thrown for over 2,600 yards with 21 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
Bulldog fans will never forget Christian LeMay. After this season, Riley Ferguson and the 2010 Butler offense will always be remembered as well.