I watched Butler's surprisingly easy 38-14 win over Independence Friday night from the sideline at Providence High and came away even more impressed with the Bulldogs. (Providence's awesome replay scoreboard made this easier, since you could see Butler dominate again on the video board after most plays).
In my column for Saturday's paper, I predict that Butler will end the season 15-0 in a week, beating Fayetteville Britt for the state championship on Dec.12. I haven't seen Britt play, but I've seen enough good high school teams to know that this Butler bunch is state-championship caliber and very focused.
Senior H-back Anthony Short caught two long TD passes Friday -- they have nicknamed him "PlayStation" for a reason. QB Christian LeMay was spectacular. But like all great football teams, Butler has a lot of depth. Junior H-back Deion Walker may be the Bulldogs' most underrated player -- he's fantastic, too. If I were kicking the ball deep to Walker and Short, I'd just as soon boot it out of bounds.
Butler was so good Friday night at answering challenges, too. The two times Independence scored TDs, in both cases Butler answered very quickly -- one time it only took 16 seconds (a long kickoff return and then a pass to Short). The other time, after Indy scored on the last play before halftime, Butler just took the second-half kickoff and needed only about 90 seconds to score.
The Bulldogs weren't a bit intimidated by the situation and I can't believe they will be next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Raleigh, when playing Britt at N.C. State's home (Carter-Finley Stadium). This is a team that is all grown up and deserves to win a state title. I believe it will.