Houston Overcomes Miscues

MATTHEWS, N.C. --- Although Ryan Houston was responsible for all three of Matthews (N.C.) Butler's touchdowns, his two turnovers kept Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County close throughout the entire game.

"I scored three touchdowns, but I got two fumbles so I just got one touchdown," said Houston. "In my book, a fumble is a negative touchdown.

"I've just got to start holding onto the ball. I know I'm a better ball handler.

"I fumbled twice last week, so next week the other team is going to look to strip the ball. I think that's a big advantage for me, because I'm going to squeeze it tighter and as they try to strip it I'm going to get more yards."

Regardless, Butler was able to pull off a 21-17 victory and earn a berth into the second round of the NCHSAA 4AA playoffs.

"We started off slow because we were looking ahead to Independence, but the second half we turned the game around," said Houston. "I was holding onto the ball a little bit better and I had bigger runs."

In the second half, Houston ripped off a 43-yard run and 31-yard touchdown, and collected 142 yards on 18 rushes. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound tailback ended the night with 184 yards on 28 carries and two catches for another 22 yards.

Butler will travel to Greensboro next week for a second round match-up against Grimsley.

Saturday, Houston heads to Chapel Hill to watch the Georgia Tech game and learn the latest on North Carolina's head coaching situation.

"One of the coaches texted the other day and told me that Butch Davis is going to be the coach," said Houston. "I'm going up to North Carolina [Saturday] and I'll find out what's going on after I talk to my people."

Houston is unfamiliar with Davis, but likes what he's been told about the former Miami head coach.

"My mom and my step dad told me that he's a real good coach when he was at Miami," said Houston. "Sounds like North Carolina got a good coach."

Although he considers his commitment to UNC firm, Houston will still officially visit other schools. Possible visits include Louisville and Florida. Tennessee and Clemson are very interested, but Houston said their depth charts aren't appealing to him.

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