Inside the Game: Butler

RALEIGH, N.C. --- After years of living in Independence High School's shadows, Matthews (N.C.) Butler stepped onto the national scene with a 15-0 season that included two wins over Independence and ended with a 48-17 victory over Fayetteville Britt in the NCHSAA 4AA Championship Game.

With its plethora of underclassmen – most notably juniors Christian LeMay and Kris Frost – Butler will likely remain among the nation's elite football programs, with or without Independence.

Role At quarterback, LeMay is the centerpiece of Butler's pass-heavy offense. Typically, the offense lines up in some variation of either the single back or the shotgun formation, usually with one ‘back and a tight end.

Outside of a rare option call, there aren't any designed run plays for LeMay. Butler rotates at least two running backs for its rushing attack, and tries to utilize LeMay solely for his arm.

In Butler's ‘50' defense, Frost lines up at outside linebacker – usually on the wide side. Most of the time – run or pass – he will attack the line-of-scrimmage, but there were a few occasions when he dropped into coverage.

Big Plays

* After Britt opened up the scoring with an 80-yard touchdown run by Greg Bryant on its second play from scrimmage, Butler answered back with a touchdown pass by LeMay on its third play from scrimmage.

From his own 47-yard line, LeMay took the snap, lightly faked a handoff, sidestepped a rush and then hit Anthony Short with a strike. Although Short, who was running a post pattern, had to reach behind somewhat to make the grab, he was never forced to break stride. He made the reception at Britt's 28-yard line and finished the play in the end zone untouched.

* Late in the third quarter, Butler increased its lead to 17 and ended any hopes of a comeback by Britt when LeMay connected with Nate Charest for his third touchdown pass of the game.

Butler's rushing attack moved the offense to Britt's 14-yard line. On second-and-two, LeMay took the snap from out of the shotgun, and was almost immediately flushed to his left by the pass rush. While on the move he hit Charest, who was running across the middle, at the goal line.


Passing: 17-of-26 for 189 yards, 3 touchdowns
Rushing: 6 for 30 yards
Passing Breakdown: 53t, 9, 5, I, 10t, I, 9fd, 11fd, I, 3, 10fd, 15fd, 13fd, I, 3, 9fd, -3, I, I, I, 5, I, I, 11, 12fd, 14td
Rushing Breakdown: 12fd, 1, 3, -1s, 9, 6

Tackles: 5 tackles (5 solo), 1 tackle for a loss of 2 yards
Miscellaneous: 1 fumble recovery; 1 pass break-up

(key: d = drop pass, I = incomplete pass, fd = first down, t = touchdown, INT = interception, s = sack)


LeMay (pictured right) is a pocket passer with exceptional athleticism and mobility. He has ideal throwing mechanics with a lightning quick setup and nearly as quick release. His throws have a lot of velocity and are typically accurate.

LeMay has tremendous pocket presence and never panics when the heat is on. His athleticism allows him to quickly and sufficiently avoid the rush and also throw from awkward positions, if needed.

Every decision LeMay makes seems to be the right one. He rarely made ill-advised throws (no interceptions on 26 attempts) and ran when it was necessary.

Although he's a pass-first quarterback, when LeMay does run, he has some speed and elusiveness and can be slippery.

There's no doubt that Frost is a Division I-A player, but at what position remains to be seen. He could legitimately play several different positions on the next level.

Athletically, Frost is off the charts. He has tremendous body control, quick feet, and his long arms are a huge asset. He has exceptional speed and range for a linebacker.

Against Britt, he struggled to break blocks and get through traffic, and was often overpowered (usually by the significantly larger Eric MacLain). However, as the game grew old, he began blowing past the bigger – and tired – blockers and making plays.

Frost plays with a lot of emotion, aggression, and determination.

Other Standouts

Both Butler and Britt are oozing with Division I-A talent.

Outside of LeMay and Frost, the most heralded is Tennessee verbal commitment Eric MacLain. Physically, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound junior already looks like a college tight end. Starting at both tight end and defensive end, he had a 10-yard reception and six tackles (all solo), including a sack. He also handled punts for Britt, averaging 38.3 yards on three attempts with a long of 42.

The most impressive, relative to the hype he receives, was Jahwan Edwards. The 6-foot, 230-pound junior tailback was named State Champions' Outstanding Offensive Player after having several highlight-worthy carries in which he literally ran over defenders. In fact, when you see that big No. 32 jersey barreling up the field, it's hard not to conjure up images of former Butler great Ryan Houston, minus the dreadlocks. Like Houston, Edwards is the workhorse for Butler. He carried the ball 18 times for 154 yards (8.6-yard average) and a score, plus a 10-yard touchdown reception. His north-south running style didn't allow any carries-for-a-loss.

Fellow junior Deion Walker was the lightning to Edwards' thunder. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound tailback rushed for 44 yards on six carries (7.3-yard average) and caught two passes for 20 yards.

Although he didn't make much of an impact in the game, it's hard to ignore the potential of freshman Peter Kalambayi. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound defensive lineman started on Butler's talented defense recording two tackles (both solo).

Arguably the best high school player on the field was Nate Charest. Charest, who was selected to the Shrine Bowl, was the game's leading receiver (eight catches for 73 yards and a touchdown), while also collecting four tackles (3 solo) on defense. Additionally, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder has a role on almost every special teams unit, including holding on field goals. Nate's older brother, Jacob, is a quarterback at Illinois.

Eric Johnson, who played in the Shrine Bowl with Charest, was one of the few bright spots for Britt. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior tailback rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries (6-yard average).

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