Photos by Tim Long, The Mint Hill Times
Butler High School football was honored Thursday for finishing No. 35 nationally for the 2010 season. The announcement was made by MaxPreps, a California-based company that ranks more than 15,000 high school varsity football teams.
Butler extended its consecutive game win streak to 31 with a 44-0 win over Wake Forest-Rolesville on Dec. 11, 2010 to win its second straight North Carolina 4AA state championship. Butler is one of 50 schools being honored on the sixth annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard. Butler was a part of last season’s tour when the Bulldogs were ranked eighth nationally.
“To be honored once (last year) was a great thrill and now to be honored two years in a row is unbelievable. This says a lot about our players and community to be ranked on a national level,” said Butler head football coach Mike Newsome, who completed his ninth season.
Butler’s high-powered offense, which averaged better than 45 points per game and scored 50 or more six times, was led by senior Jahwan Edwards, who rushed for 1,652 yards and 33 touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Riley Ferguson passed for 2,899 yards and 24 TDs while his brother, Zach, caught 46 passes for 750 yards and three scores. Sophomore H-back, Uriah LeMay rushed for 339 yards, had 627 receiving yards and scored 12 times.
Senior linebacker Steven Amoah led the Bulldogs’ 3-4 defense with 196 tackles, including 11 for loss and had six quarterback sacks. Kris Frost, another linebacker, had 50 tackles, assisted on 36 others, 12 TFL, five sacks and four pass interceptions. Safety Austin Stewart (43 tackles. 27 assisted tackles, nine interceptions) and end Colin Parsons (33 tackles, 57 assisted tackles, 27 TFL and 16 sacks) were key contributors.
North Carolina Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Maury Williams presented Coach Newsome and the team with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy during a school assembly on Thursday.
“The Army National Guard understands the commitment and dedication of individuals who form a winning team,” said Lieutenant Colonel William Dones, Army National Guard Bureau. “This season the Army National Guard is thrilled to honor nationally-ranked football teams across the country during the MaxPreps Tour of Champions. We look forward to celebrating the determination of student-athletes who have worked together to become champions.”
MaxPreps uses a sophisticated computer program, known as the Freeman Rankings, to determine team rank for the Tour of Champions. The system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents), margin of victory, and strength of schedule. Playoff games are weighed 2.1 times a regular season game.