Butler High football coach Brian Hales said he can’t wait to get his team back on the big stage.
The Bulldogs will play Scotland County Saturday at 5 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Both teams are legitimate state powers.
Butler has won three of the past nine N.C. 4AA state championship games. Hales is 77-17 as the Bulldogs’ head coach. Scotland County has never won fewer than 12 games since coach Richard Bailey took over in 2012.
Bailey’s teams are 77-9. Scotland, which won the 2011 state 4A championship, has reached two more state championship games under Bailey. The Fightin’ Scots most recently played Harding in the 2017 N.C. 4A final, losing 30-22.
Scotland graduated 32 seniors from last season’s state finalist. Bruce Wall, the team’s leading receiver last season, will start at quarterback, a position he has not played since his freshman season.
Butler has 28 seniors on its roster, including 15 starters. The Bulldogs were 8-3 last season and lost in the first round of the state playoffs. It was Butler’s worst season since 2004, and Hales and the Bulldogs can’t wait to get to Memorial Stadium Saturday to start a new season where they feel they can realistically challenge for a championship.
“It’s big-time football and a great environment,” Hales said. “And it’s great to be back in Memorial Stadium and get those people down there like the old days when we used to go down. Having an opponent like Scotland out of the gate is great, too. That’s motivated us all offseason.”
WANT TO GO?
Saturday’s Kickoff Classic is a doubleheader at Memorial Stadium. Butler plays Scotland County at 5 p.m. and Mallard Creek faces Dutch Fork at 8. Tickets are $10 online and at the gate.