Coming off of a difficult 1-8-1 season just a year prior, the 1981 Aviators knew they could not only improve - they believed that they could and would contend for an MCC title.
That's exactly what they did.
The Aviators opened the season at 2-0, before falling mightily to the eventual MCC champion Trotwood Rams in a Week 3 showdown. Butler bounced back from the early setback, to rattle off seven wins, finishing the season with a 9-1 record.
It was nearly enough to earn the Aviators their first playoff berth and a match-up against Moeller, but a St. Xavier win in Week 10 over Mt. Healthy helped the Bombers edge out Butler 134.75 to 131.50 for the sixth seed in DI Region IV.
Working on a comeback story of his own, senior tailback Doug Lewis bounced back from a winter knee surgery to lead the Aviators offensive attack on the ground, finishing the season with 1,427 yards and nine touchdowns - earning the Aviator's Most Valuable Player Award. Leading the way for Lewis was Brad Donathan, and absolute punisher that anchored the offensive line.
As prolific as the offense could be, the defense was another key piece of this team - posting five shutouts on the season. The defense was also clutch and was key in wins over Sidney, Northmont and West Carrollton.
Butler was well represented in the post-season accolades circuit with the following players receiving recognition.
Journal Herald All Area All Star Team
Dave O'Cull (SE), Cory Brusman (K), Doug Lewis (TB), Wayne Campbell (DL), Tim Baughman (LB)
1st Team All-MCC Honors
Chris Davis, Cory Brusman, Dave O'Cull, Doug Lewis, Brad Donathan, Wayne Campbell, Tim Baughman
2nd Team All-MCC Honors
Greg Stacy, Jim Wells