Independence comes up short against Butler in the battle for the King of the Hill trophy

RJ Baker dives for extra yards in the first half of Friday's game. (Photo by Mark Sward at

Independence played a solid game on offense and defence against one of the best teams in the state, but it wasn’t enough Friday as cross-town rival Butler retained the King of the Hill trophy, winning 38-26.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season 9-1 and first place in the Southwest 4A, while the Patriots dropped to 9-2 and third place in the conference. Ardrey Kell took second place in the conference.
In front of a nearly sold out home crowd, the Patriots would rally in the second half, pulling with four points on an R.J. Baker four yard touchdown run.
Butler would come right back on its only meaningful possession of the fourth quarter, driving 80 yards for the touchdown. Josh Glisson ran the ball nine times on the drive, busting into the end zone on a one-yard carry to give the Bulldogs a 38-26 lead.
Butler’s other touchdown of the second half was the result of an interception by Channing Stribling. The referees were unsure if the ball had hit the ground before Stribling snagged it, but after a discussion, awarded the Bulldogs a touchdown. Others saw it differently. Continue reading


Mint Hill Area High School Football Previews

Ardrey Kell Knights
2-2 (1-0, Southwestern 4A Conference)
Independence Patriots
5-0 (1-0, I-Meck Conf.)
Patriot Stadium in Mint Hill
Friday at 7pm

Independence’s ‘Season of Redemption’ continues this Friday as the Patriots host Ardrey Kell.  It’s the Knights who will be seeking revenge in this contest as the Patriots spoiled Ardrey Kell’s homecoming game last season with a 51-30 beat-down.
This contest will be a test for Indy’s vaunted offense, as Ardrey Kell’s defense has been giving up an average of 22 points per game this season.  That is well below the Patriots’ scoring average of 45 points per game.
Independence will need to game-plan plays away from the Knights’ defensive end Romeo Okwara.  The senior is ranked at number 65 in the state recruiting class and has committed to Notre Dame next season.
The Patriots offensive line has been excellent all season, but Friday night’s test could be their biggest yet.

Also on Friday…

Butler Bulldogs
3-1 (1-0, Southwestern 4A Conference)
Rocky River Ravens
2-3 (0-1, I-Meck Conf.)
“The Rock” in Mint Hill
Friday at 7pm

Head Coach Brian Hales has Butler looking as dominating as last year’s version, if not more so.  After dropping a heart-breaker on the road to the number one ranked team in the state, the Bulldogs seem to be taking it out on the remainder of their schedule.  No one needs to be reminded that this team is still the two-time defending state 4AA champion.
Quarterback Riley Ferguson is ranked as the fourth best recruit in the state according to MaxPreps, and he’s only a junior.
Butler put 77 on the scoreboard last week against Myers Park, a team that had only been giving up 15 points per game in their previous four contests.  It looks as if the entire Southwestern 4A Conference will be lining up for their annual Butler smack-down.
Next up on the list is Rocky River.   The Ravens are definitely not the team they were last season.  They are vastly improved on both sides of the ball, and have already notched two wins.
The game against Butler will be a good chance for the Ravens’ players to garner some needed experience against a local powerhouse.
One other thing for sure, as Butler will take the win in this game, the Ravens fans will still fill the stadium at “The Rock” and be extremely vocal for their team.  Rocky River’s players are never short on support from their coaches, fans, and family.
Follow all local sports on Twitter at @JJamisonMHTimes


Former Butler standout signs with the Kansas City Chiefs

Former Butler High School football star Mike Ingersoll will get his shot at making an NFL team. The Kansas City Chiefs inked a deal with Ingersoll yesterday in a flurry of signings around the NFL.

Ingersoll, who is from Mint Hill, finished his senior year at UNC last year. The 6 foot 5, 305 pound offensive lineman will suit up for the Chiefs when camp opens at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph at 3:30 pm Friday.


Butler’s Cierra Burdick named finalist for U19 national team

The Mint Hill Times

Cierra Burdick last year when she signed the letter of intent to play for Tennessee next season. She is standing next to her mother.

Butler High School’s Cierra Burdick was one of 15 finalists who were named to the 2011 USA Women’s U19 World Championship Team, USA Basketball announced last week. Finalists were selected by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice president for Division I women’s basketball.

“The fact that so many of these kids had played together for USA Basketball was a factor,” said Donohoe. “Certainly you like kids who have good experience, whether it’s USA Basketball experience or it’s experience playing together. It’s the same situation with any team that we select: what skill sets do those kids bring? How do you mold those skill sets together as one unit in order to win a gold medal.”

Trials were held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The USA U19 team finalists will reconvene on June 1 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as part of the ESPN RISE Girls Showcase. The USA will train for four days before facing the Brazil U19 National Team on June 5 (12:30 p.m. EDT). The game will be televised on ESPNU and also shown online at Following the USA’s game against Brazil, the final 12-member team will be announced.




Butler student among three National Merit winners from CMS

Garrett Guion from Butler High School was among three CMS students who were named National Merit Scholarship winners. Guion will attend New York University next year. The other CMS winners were Emily Auerbach from Myers Park and Tyler Kroeschell from Providence. Auerbach will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Kroeschell will attend Auburn University. Continue reading


Mike Newsome Accepts Coaching Position at A.L. Brown

the Mint Hill Times

Coach Mike Newsome

On Monday A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis announced Butler’s Mike Newsome would be taking over as head coach of their football team.

“It was an extremely tough decision.  My wife and I sat down and we discussed the pros and cons.  In the end I think this is the best decision for me.  The opportunity to move to a school with such a huge football tradition doesn’t come around very often.”

Newsome is leaving quite a legacy at Butler.  The Bulldogs are the reigning two-time North Carolina 4AA state champions.  They have a 31-game winning streak.  Newsome has been their head coach for the past nine seasons.  He has been a member of Butler’s coaching staff since the school opened in 1997.  Newsome was named the national high school football coach of the year for the 2009 season.

When asked about his time at Butler, Newsome has strong feelings about the school.

“What we were able to accomplish was unbelievable.  It was awesome to start-up a program.  The whole experience helped me grow as a coach.  I just hope the kids learned as much from me as I learned.”

Read more about Coach Newsome’s move in this Thursday’s edition of The Mint Hill Times.