Dec 1, 2012
Led by quarterback Riley Ferguson's 301 yards and five touchdown passes, the Butler Bulldogs had little trouble with Jack Britt Saturday, downing the Buccaneers 56-28 to capture the 4-AA State Championship in Chapel Hill.
After capturing the eastern regional crown a week ago with a 14-8 win over Garner, the Buccaneers (13-3) had few answers for Ferguson and the well-oiled Butler offense Saturday. The Bulldogs (15-0) executed perfectly in the first half, building a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and taking a 42-7 lead midway through the second.
Head coach Brian Rimpf, in his first season at Jack Britt, credited his senior class for helping the Buccaneers exceed expectations by making it to the state championship game.
"Today, we played a very good Butler football team, and it showed," he said. "They are good in all phases of the game. We're proud of our guys for getting to this point, and that's something we want our seniors to carry on throughout their lives."
Despite the big deficit early on and the disappointing result, Jack Britt never quit. The Buccaneers got on the board early in the second quarter when quarterback Mark McRae hit Jalen McDaniel from 42 yards out, and Jack Britt scored again on the final play of the first half – a 35-yard strike from McRae to Chris McGee.
"Coaches tell us to keep our heads up, and that's what we tried to do in the second half," McRae said. "There is pride there, because nobody wants to come into the big game and get blown out. We just kept our heads up."
McRae, who led Jack Britt in wins over Richmond Senior and Garner, went 18-of-34 through the air and finished with 230 yards passing and three touchdowns to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. Six of those passes went to Jalen McDaniel, who led the Bucs with 92 receiving yards and the second-quarter score.
For the Bulldogs, Saturday's triumph was the culmination of a season that started with high hopes.
Butler finished with 568 yards of offense, averaging better than 10 yards per play against a Jack Britt defense that struggled to adjust to a wide-open passing attack led by Ferguson.
A Tennessee commit, Ferguson went 20-of-29 for 301 yards and threw five touchdowns, earning Most Valuable Player honors and equaling Joe Cox's neutral-site era state record set in 2003.
Butler's 42 first-half points also tied a record set by Reidsville in 2003.
Head coach Brian Hales said his coaching staff spent much of Butler's undefeated year reminding players about the goals they wanted to accomplish and how they would get there.
"All the credit goes to the players because they set the bar with what they wanted to do," he said. "The big thing with this group was to constantly make sure they were striving for perfection."
Josh Glisson, who finished with 195 total yards and four touchdowns (two rushing, two receiving), said Butler's loss to Page in the 2011 4-AA Eastern Regional Final was a motivating factor for the Bulldogs throughout the entire season and helped them get up big on Jack Britt early.
"Everybody just said this is our goal. This is what we've thought about since the loss to Page," Glisson, who earned Most Outstanding Player honors, said. "Everyone knew they just had to come out and play. It wasn't easy, but I could tell everyone was focused, and that made it easier."
The seemingly easy win was Butler's third state title in the last four years. The Bulldogs downed Wake Forest-Rolesvile 44-0 in 2010 and Jack Britt 48-17 in 2009.
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