One of the toughest things about defending Butler quarterback Anthony Ratliff is that he can beat a team with his arm and his legs.
He showed both Friday night as he accounted for 293 total yards and five touchdowns as the No. 4 Bulldogs easily dispatched host East Meck 42-6.
Butler (5-2, 2-0 Southwestern 4A) actually fumbled the opening kickoff and gave East Meck good field position. But the defense held and blocked a 38-yard field goal.
Ratliff began the scoring soon after, going 54 yards up the middle for a touchdown and Butler was off to a quick 7-0 lead.
“Anthony’s athleticism is off the charts,” Butler coach Brian Hales said. “Now his decision-making is getting so much better and his knowledge of the game is catching up, and that’s a great thing to see.”
Then Ratliff showed off his arm, hooking up with junior halfback Alex Barrow for the next two touchdowns. On the first, he executed a pump fake that brought the defender in and Barrow sprinted past him for a 35-yard score.
On Butler’s next possession, the Bulldogs were deep in their own territory, but Ratliff threw a perfect strike to Barrow again for an 85-yard score with 39 seconds left in the quarter.
Butler used some trickery for its next touchdown, as Ratliff handed off to running back Benjamin LeMay, who ran up the middle, stopped before the line of scrimmage and threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Steven Scherber.
East Meck (0-7, 0-2) showed some fight, as a 54-yard reception by Bokar Diaby set up a 5-yard scoring run by Bryon Collins to get the Eagles on the scoreboard.
But Butler answered right back, with Ratliff throwing his third touchdown pass of the night, a 7-yarder to Scherber. Ratliff would throw his fourth touchdwon pass late in the third quarter to Justin Streeter and was able to rest in the fourth.
Seven Butler players caught passes, and Ratliff finished the night 11 for 13 for 207 yards and added 86 yards on the ground.
“This is such a great team to coach,” Hales said. “They’re so competitive yet unselfish at the same time. They don’t care who gets the ball, and it makes it fun to try to come up with different plays for them.”
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