CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Southwestern 4A Conference is loaded with talent once again.
One of the teams eyeing a return to the state title game is Butler. The Bulldogs finished 11-4 in 2013, losing to eventual champion Mallard Creek. Head Coach Brian Hales isn’t focused on just getting back to the finals. He has several goals in mind.
“Our number one goal is to win state. Our second is to win the conference. The conference is going to prepare us well,” said Hales. He added, “Our last goal is to go unbeaten in conference.”
If Butler finishes unbeaten in conference play, it means they will have found a way to get past defending conference champions Rocky River. The Ravens won their first ever league championship last season. Rocky River finished 9-2 and will rely heavily on their go-to guys, South Carolina commit Jaire Alexander and quarterback Naiil Ramadan.
“I can’t express how much more talent we have than last year, but we have to put in the work and I feel like we get better and better each day,” said Alexander. Ramadan echoed his teammate’s thoughts by saying, “Coach says don’t settle. You don’t want to have regret, tomorrow is not promised. You put everything you got in to now.”
Joe Evans and the Independence Patriots have to be included in the conference championship discussion. Evans is entering his second season at Indy. The Patriots finished 8-5 one year ago and have to find replacements for several key players, including current Wake Forest freshman Isiah Robinson. Independence will have to keep focused.
“We have to stay hungry and know that nobody is going to hand us anything. We have to work for it and stay hungry, remain humble and keep our minds straight.”
The head coach position has been a revolving door at Myers Park. The Mustangs enter their third straight season with a new head coach. This year the squad is led by Scott Chadwick. He returns two major components on offense from a year ago in quarterback Clay Norris and running back Jaquavion Alexander. Alexander rushed for over 1000 yards last season.
“They make plays for me and then we have a couple of more receivers coming up who should be pretty solid,” said Norris.
The Mustangs open the season on the road Friday, August 22 at Olympic High School.