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Butler to pace Jefferson

August 11, 2013
By RYAN DENTSCHEFF - Tribune Chronicle correspondent ( , Underthelights

JEFFERSON - Justin Butler is expected to be a force for the Jefferson Falcons at running back and linebacker this season. He rushed for 79 yards last season and is expected to be a bruising runner who can get tough yards.

"This year we have four senior running backs, so I think we're gonna be a pretty solid running team," Butler said. "We're all big bruiser backs as coach Henson calls us."

Butler's biggest impact will be as the leader of the defense. Butler returns as a starter at linebacker where he recorded 75 tackles and two interceptions in 2012.

There is always a level of added pressure when accepting the role as team leader. He enjoys having the team rely on him and believes he will be able to lead the Falcons to a successful season. For Butler, the pressure is nothing unexpected or overwhelming.

"I like being the person in charge," he said. "I like to get things done and I like things to be right, that's just kind of the way I am. And, being one of the only returning starters, it kind of just fell into place that I'm the team leader.

"There's not as much pressure as you'd think there'd be. Even though (many players) haven't started at the varsity level, they know what to do, they just gotta get to playing at varsity speed and that's what I can help them with - along with the interior lineman we have Quincy Hall and Bubba Hagerdon. Once we get everybody up to varsity pace I think we'll be OK."

The main goal for the Falcons, much like last season, is to win their first All-American Conference title. Last season was the first year Jefferson played in the conference and Butler thinks they have what it takes this year to win the title.

"Obviously we've never won the AAC conference, so winning it will be good," he said. "Last year we lost to Campbell Memorial and Liberty. We probably should have beaten Campbell - and Liberty, if we get rid of the first quarter, we beat them. So we have what it takes, but we just have to get everybody up to Friday night speed and I think we'll be fine."

"The main goal is to win the AAC conference, and the second goal is to make the playoffs because we have been ninth place in our region for the past three years. We've missed it by a little bit every year. I think it's completely possible (to make the playoffs). We have the talent to do it. If everybody keeps focus and the devotion is there, I think we have a really good shot."

Football is not the only thing on the mind of the senior. His dairy cow showings at the Ashtabula County Fair as a part of the county 4-H kept him out of at least one two-a-day practice last week. He plans on playing football in college, but animal science is something he values as well.

"I want to go into pre-veterinary medicine or an animal science major and I talked to the recruiting coordinator at Findlay University," Butler said. "I guess it's just where the pieces are going to fall, where I get offers from and what's going to help me best for the future."


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