Butler senior quarterback Davis Cheek says as long as his team is playing “Butler football,” the Bulldogs believe they can beat anyone in the state.
Friday, they looked focused on the task, as Butler, No. 2 in the Observer Sweet 16, rolled to 49-3 victory against rival Independence.
The victory was not only Butler’s ninth straight, but also clinched a 6-0 Southwestern 4A Conference championship, giving the Bulldogs (10-1) their eight league title in the past 10 years. Butler has beaten Independence in 11 of their past 12 games, dating to 2009 (eight regular season, four playoff games).
On senior night, Cheek passed for 176 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score. He also caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from junior running back Nijere Peoples.
Peoples added two rushing touchdowns, and seniors Dirk Cureton (three catches for 58 yards and a touchdown, seven rushes for 43 yards) and Kusegi Cureton (five catches for 62 yards) also made big contributions.
The Butler defense was stifling as it allowed 31 yards of total offense, including negative-12 yards rushing. Bulldogs junior linebacker Kaleb Simmons scooped up a fumble and returned it 5 yards for a score.
Butler’s special teams also set up a score when senior linebacker Christian Dixon blocked a punt during the second quarter to position the offense inside the 10.
Butler scored its first points when Peoples dove in for a 1-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes, 47 seconds left in the first quarter.
Independence (2-9) countered on its next drive when Dino Silva hit a 39-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to make it 7-3.
Butler then scored 35 points unanswered points in that same quarter to put the game away.
Quote: “We knew what we were going up against tonight. But for us, it’s not so much about who our opponent is, but mainly just do your job. As long we can play Butler football, we feel like we can beat anyone in the state. There’s no doubt we want to win a state (championship). Right now, we’re on top and we plan on staying there.” – Butler senior quarterback Davis Cheek.
Records: Butler 10-1, 6-0; Independence 2-9, 2-4.
Worth mentioning: Butler has won nine straight games, but dominated Southwestern 4A opponents, outscoring them 311-41. That’s an average score of 52-7. … Independence finishes at 2-9, only the second time the Patriots have lost eight or more games since 1980. The other season was 2010, when they went 3-8.
What’s next: Butler gets a first-round bye before playing a second-round 4AA playoff game on Nov. 18. Independence’s season ends.