How do you follow-up back-to-back deep runs in the playoffs when you are only returning three starters on each side of the ball? That was the challenge that Pelfrey and staff faced heading into the 2002 playoffs. The community was buzzing and fans had grown accustomed to the Friday night frenzy that Butler football had become. Rebuilding was not an option.
Fortunately for Butler one of those key returning players was versatile senior quarterback Tyler Koch. Koch was a mobile quarterback that could pick defense a part and keep them honest with his scrambling ability. He also handled all of the Aviators kicking duties as well, giving Butler the ability to keep trick plays in the back pocket of every game.
The Aviators plowed through the regular season with a 9-1 record, losing only to rival Northmont (23-31) in a game that nearly saw Butler pull off the comeback win. The team beat nemesis Piqua for a second straight time and handed undefeated Trotwood their first loss in the area's marquee match-up on the Ram's home field.
To open the playoffs Butler took care of Carroll at home in a first round game. Poised for another big run in the playoffs, the Aviators prepared for a showdown with a powerful Chaminade-Julienne team at Welcome Stadium.
The Eagles pulled out the victory with just 1:47 remaining, beating Butler 26-25 in what was a back and forth affair for four quarters. The Eagles would go on to win the D-II State Championship.