Local rugby legend looking to form team in Mint Hill

By Jamie Jamison
The Mint Hill Times

William “Skipper” Bailey has many years of experience playing and coaching rugby. However, no rugby team exists in his home town of Mint Hill and Bailey wants to change that.
Bailey was asked to join the Charlotte Gargoyles Rugby Team after high school in the 1970s. During his career in the United States Air Force, he played rugby at Fort Bragg.
Bailey has more than 12 years of experience as a player, and six years as a coach. Most recently
he coached a rugby team at UNC-Charlotte. He currently holds the highest rugby coaching
credential possible, and has never had a losing season. Bailey believes the strong high school football traditions in the Mint Hill area makes it an ideal place to form a rugby team.
“Mint Hill is blessed to have nationally ranked high school football teams located so close,” he said. “A lot of those players may not pursue football after high school. Rugby is a game that will fill that void.”
Rugby is a physical sport that can be very appealing to some athletes. Bailey stresses the levels of stamina required to participate.
“It’s a sense of stepping into a game where we wear no pads and we do not stop the game for any reason. It is two 40 minute halves of non-stop action, and knowing that you have the endurance to last over 80 minutes of full contact.” Continue reading


Butler Basketball to play at Time Warner Arena

The Butler Bulldogs will compete against Winston-Salem Reynolds High School on Saturday at 2:00 pm at Time Warner Cable Arena in Uptown Charlotte.  The Bobcats will host the New Orleans Hornets at 7:00 pm on Saturday.  Several Bobcat players and Chris Paul of the Hornets are scheduled to attend the high school game.

A ticket purchased for the Butler-Reynolds game will also be good for the Bobcats-Hornets game. 

Butler’s Head Coach Kurt Wessler is excited about the team playing uptown.

“Incredible experience for our guys!  The opportunity to play in an NBA arena is certainly one that my players will remember their whole life.  It was and is an opportunity we simply could not pass up.  Our fan base has been great in buying tickets, and we are amped to get a chance to compete on the same floor as the best in the world.”


Butler Repeats as State Champions

The Butler Bulldogs won the state 4AA football title on Saturday, shutting out Wake Forest-Rolesville     44-0 at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.

The Mint Hill Times

Butler's Jahwan Edwards, Colin Parsons and Kris Frost accept the 4AA State trophy. (Photo by Mark Sward at swardpics.com)

Jahwan Edwards won the Most Valuable Player honors, rushing for 170 yards and scoring three touchdowns in the second half.

“Our game plan was to run the ball and keep their offense off the field.  In the first half they were all over me, but in the second half I just had to come out and dominate.”

Austin Stewart had two interceptions for the Bulldog defense.  His second pick was returned 93 yards for a touchdown that broke the game open in the second quarter.  Stewart was named the defensive player of the game.

The whole Bulldog defensive unit could have legitimately been given defensive honors.  In what was virtually an away game for Butler they shut out a team that averaged 28 points per game.  Rolesville only gained 134 yards on the ground on Saturday after they had averaged 240 per game during the season.  The Cougars, trailing the whole game and forced to pass, only completed two of nine passes.  Three of their passes were intercepted.

Rolesville came into the game with a big, experienced offensive line.  Butler Head Coach Mike Newsome knew controlling the line of scrimmage would be a key to victory.

“We knew they were big, and they were physical.  It looked like we had our hands full, but our kids just played through it.  We’re not always the biggest team out there.  We just play with a lot of heart and attitude.”

Quarterback Riley Ferguson was named the offensive player of the game, passing for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

Butler has won back-to-back state titles and now has a 31-game win streak.

More on the Bulldogs’ big win coming soon.  The entire write-up will be posted in the December 16th issue of The Mint Hill Times.


Despite an inexperienced offense, Butler keeps piling up the points

The Mint Hill Times

Sophomore Riley Ferguson has played beyond his years at quarterback for the Bulldogs. Photo by Mark Sward (swardpics.com)

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.”

The Mint Hill Times

Uriah Lemay is another sophomore that has put up big numbers for the Bulldogs. Photo by Mark Sward (swardpics.com)

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

The Mint Hill Times

Senior Jahwan Edwards gives credit to his young offensive line for opening holes like this one. Photo by Mark Sward (swardpics.com)

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.


Independence drops two to Vance

Although both Patriot varsity teams dropped contests at Vance on Tuesday night, both coaches are optimistic as they head into conference play Friday night.

The Indy boys were trailing by 21 at halftime, but a third quarter rally cut the Vance lead to single digits.  Head Coach Preston Davis said he made a challenge to his players during the intermission.

“I told them they weren’t playing with enough energy, and they were playing weak.  I really had no fight out of them.  I told them they needed to step up and show some fight.”

Davis sees some aspects of the game that the Patriots need to improve.

“We can’t give teams more opportunities than they already get.  We definitely have to work on taking better care of the basketball and avoiding turnovers.”

Boys: Vance 76 Independence 54

Girls: Vance 38 Independence 33

Continue reading


Butler Wins Spot in State Championship

The Butler Bulldogs defeated Vance 44-24 on Friday to advance to the North Carolina 4AA football state championship game.  The victory brings Butler’s win streak to 30 games overall, and puts them into the state title game for the second year in a row.

Jahwan Edwards was the player of the night, scoring three touchdowns on 27 carries.  Edwards had over 200 yards rushing and receiving in the game.

Austin Stewart came up with a key interception in the third quarter for the Bulldogs.  Later in the game Stewart returned a punt for a touchdown.

Butler will play Wake Forest-Rolesville for the state title on Saturday, Dec. 11.  The game will take place at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium.  Kickoff is 11 a.m.

For more on Butler’s victory and a preview of their championship game, check out the December 9th issue of The Mint Hill Times.