Butler looking for District 10 gold this fall before returning to WPIAL in ’24

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Friday, August 25, 2023 | 12:30 AM


After enjoying its best football season in 24 years in 2021, Butler was looking to build on that success last fall with several key players returning.

After a hot start, the season got away with six consecutive losses, including a 55-point setback against McDowell in the District 10 Class 6A championship game.

“We started so promising at 4-1,” Butler coach Eric Christy said. “We did not end up the way we wanted by record or by losing the playoff game.”

The program enjoyed the taste of winning football in 2021 and now wants to return that sense this fall.

“This group of players is very eager to learn and listen and adjust when the Butler staff instructs them,” Christy said. “We have a nice mix of returning and new players who are ready to compete and make the playoffs.”

Depth is a concern for Christy and his staff as the Golden Tornado return six starters each on offense and defense.

Leading the way for Butler is senior wide receiver and defensive back Braylon Littlejohn. The team’s leading receiver the last two seasons, he is committed to Miami (Ohio) as a defensive back.

While the Golden Tornado determine a quarterback to replace longtime starter Mac Schnur, Littlejohn is joined by senior receiver and defensive back Ian Wilson, who was injured last fall.

A pair of running backs and defensive backs will help guide the offense on the ground.

Senior Landon Lacey is one of the fastest players in the area and is a three-year starter, while junior David Graef is a vocal leader who will play on both sides of the ball.

Up front, Butler will rely on a couple of seniors in offensive and defensive lineman Keegan Bracken, who Christy says has put up some extraordinary numbers in the weight room, and lineman and linebacker A.J. Baker, who his coach calls unique for being able to play both center and middle linebacker at a high rate.

Of the 10-game schedule the Golden Tornado are set to play in 2023, three of the games are against WPIAL teams and two are against City League schools.

Butler would like to win the District 10 championship this season before returning back to the WPIAL in football starting in 2024.

“District 10 teams have been so good to us and we appreciate that, but there is excitement in the Butler community to return to District 7,” Christy said. “Honestly, the Butler football program hasn’t thought much about it, our focus is on this season.”

Butler

Coach: Eric Christy

2022 record: 4-7

All-time record: 526-471-47

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.25, at Shaler, 7

9.1, Meadville, 7

9.8, at Brashear, 7

9.15, Hollidaysburg, 7

9.22, Erie, 7

9.29, at Seneca Valley, 7

10.6, Westinghouse, 7

10.13, at Cathedral Prep, 7

10.20, at McDowell, 7

10.27, Latrobe, 7

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Mac Schnur*

132-269, 1,898 yards, 22 TDs

Rushing: Dashawn Cox*

77-461 yards, 6 TDs

Receiving: Braylon Littlejohn

31-554 yards, 6 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Eric Christy begins his sixth season as head coach at his alma mater, Butler.

• The District 10 playoff loss to McDowell in 2022 marked the second year in a row the Golden Tornado played in the postseason. Both times, the Golden Tornado fell to the Trojans. It marked the first time Butler played in back-to-back playoff games since 1991-92.

• The combined nine wins the last two seasons were the most Golden Tornado gridiron victories in two decades when Butler won nine games total in 2002 and 2003.

• This is the 118th season of Butler football. This year is the 73rd anniversary of the only outright football championship won by Butler. The WPIAL declared Butler champion at the end of the 1950 season. The only other crown was a shared title 46 years ago when Butler tied Penn Hills, 7-7, in the 1977 Class 3A title game.

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