Monday, August 9, 2010

Butler players: "It's us against the world"

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MATTHEWS Last week at practice, Butler High coach Mike Newsome called his players into a tight huddle and said no one was pulling for them, that everyone was expecting the defending N.C. 4AA champions to fall flat on their faces this season.

"It's us against the world," Newsome said. And his team roared.

The Bulldogs will begin the season without principal Theresa Hopkins, who is suspended and under a "personnel" investigation by the school system, and without All-America quarterback Christian LeMay, who violated a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' code of conduct rule and could be out until October. That leaves sophomore Riley Ferguson as the starter, and that leaves Butler with a few questions.

"Being state champions puts a bigger target on your back," Newsome said. "Now, you get everybody's best game."

Said senior defensive end Colin Parsons: "It appears to me right now that we do have a lot of things going against us that we've got to rise above. There's really not a lot of people pulling for us, it feels like. I think it's motivation. It's how we've always felt."

Linebacker Kris Frost said the offseason turmoil has been hard.

"It's been devastating, really," he said. "I love my principal. We all do. I've been here three years and for her to not give me my diploma next year, it's going to be heartbreaking."

Senior running back Jahwan Edwards said it's time to move on.

"This is a team and it's between us," Edwards. "I'm not expecting (LeMay) to come back. If Christian does, that's good. We love him and we miss him, but we have to work with what's here."

Edwards said he believes what Butler has is enough to repeat as champion.

"This team can be way better than last year," he said. "We have more hard-working people and we know what it takes to win a state championship, and we're looking forward to doing it again."

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