Butler held host Independence without a first down until the closing minutes of the first half and piled up 251 rushing yards Friday night in a 31-0 victory that earned the Bulldogs the Southwestern 4A Conference championship.
Butler’s defense was relentless, holding the Patriots to 16 yards total offense until Independence put together a drive near the end of the first half. It was the Patriots’ closest shot at scoring, but the drive ended with an end-zone interception by Brandon Brown as the second quarter ended.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs drove repeatedly on their neighborhood rivals, led by running back Benjamin LeMay, who scored all four touchdowns and rushed for 176 yards on 29 carries.
Butler led 24-0 at halftime, and coach Brian Hales kept his team’s offense simple in the second half, giving the ball to LeMay most of the time.
“Going back to the beginning of the year, a lot of people said Butler would take a step back this year, because we lost some players, but these guys kept working hard every week,” Bulldogs’ head coach Brian Hales said. “I’m really happy for them.”
Hales said Butler’s defense “was awesome.”
“Our coaches really prepared the defense,” he added. “There wasn’t much they (Patriots) did that we weren’t ready for.”
The Bulldogs held Independence senior running back Quantavious McGill to 19 yards rushing on 12 carries, and Patriot quarterback Christian McPhail was under pressure all night, throwing for only 41 yards.
Quote: “It never gets old.” – Butler head coach Brian Hales, on beating rival Independence.
Records: Butler (9-2 overall, 5-1 Southwestern 4A); Independence (7-4 overall, 5-1 Southwestern 4A).
Worth mentioning: Butler went for first down on three fourth-down situations in the first half, scoring touchdowns on two of those situations … Butler kicker Adrian Salazar put five of his seven kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks … Independence gained a bit of joy in their Rivalry Week competition with Butler. Independence students beat Butler 14,000 to 5,000 in the school library Check-Out Challenge, which measured how many books students read during the weeks leading up to the game … The game drew more than 4,000 fans and created a 2-mile-long traffic backup on Margaret Wallace Road before the kickoff.
What's Next: Both teams will play first-round 4AA playoff games next Friday. Pairings will be announced Saturday.