CHAPEL HILL Butler Highs football team made its case for history - and a mythical national championship, in the N.C. 4AA championship Saturday at Kenan Stadium.
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in the Observers Sweet 16 and as high as No. 5 nationally, took all the suspense out of the title game early and ran away with a 56-28 win against overmatched Fayetteville Britt that sent folks hunting down the record books.
Butler (15-0) polished off its third unbeaten season in four years, with its third state title in that run. The Bulldogs, who led 28-0 and 42-7 in the first half, join seven-time champion Independence as the only Mecklenburg County 4A teams to win at least three rings.
"Oh man, this feels better than I thought," Butler coach Brian Hales said after an emotional final meeting with his 2012 team. "This is the culmination of everything. I love these guys. It means everything to me."
Hales team won by the largest margin in the 4AA championship game since Butler beat Wake Forest-Rolesville 44-0 in 2010. The Bulldogs three championship wins have come by an average of nearly 35 points.
And records fell in bunches.
Butler scored 28 first-quarter points and had 42 at halftime. Both totals tied the state record for a neutral-site championship. Quarterback Riley Ferguson threw for 301 yards and five touchdowns, including four in that blistering first quarter when Butler scored on four straight possessions.
Fergusons touchdown-pass total tied former Independence quarterback Joe Coxs neutral site state finals mark set in 2003. Fergusons pass yardage ranks eighth all time.
But it wasnt just Ferguson, a Tennessee recruit, who undid the Buccaneers, who lost for the fifth time in five appearances in the state final. Kameron Billings and Georgia recruit Uriah LeMay both caught four passes for 102 yards. LeMay and Josh Glisson caught two touchdown passes. Butler sophomore quarterback Anthony Ratliff threw two touchdown passes. And Glisson rushed nine times for 117 yards, averaging 13 yards per carry.
On defense, Butler linebackers Sean Wiggins (16 tackles), a Ball State recruit, and Peter Kalambayi (12), a Stanford recruit, had huge games.
"Today we played a very good Butler team and it showed," said Britt first-year coach Brian Rimpf. "You can watch them on film and know theyre good. Theyve got a lot of good athletes. Its tough to the move the ball on them and theyre tough to stop. Theyre undefeated for a reason."
Britt (13-3) finished with 390 yards total offense, including 230 yards passing and three touchdowns from quarterback Mark McRae, but the bulk of it came when the outcome was long decided.
While Butler was running up its 28-0 first-quarter lead, Britt managed 14 yards on nine plays.
Wiggins said the motivation Saturday - and all season - was a quarterfinal loss at Greensboro Page in the state quarterfinals in 2011. That cost the Bulldogs a possible shot at winning four straight state championships.
"Some of us have been playing together since we were 7," Wiggins said. "That was our third loss in our lives. And the main thing was seeing the seniors, what they went through walking off that field. We talked and said We dont want that. We want to walk off this field with a smile on our faces."
Wiggins, smiling, said Saturday was the day of his life.
"I still dont think its really hit us yet," he said. But this is what we were supposed to do. Its not unexpected. From the get-go, from summer workouts to now, we said we would do it and we had to do it. Now, we did it."
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