Butler Aviators Football

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Jeff Gilbert - Dayton Daily News

TROY — Brayden Siler had a lot of fun playing quarterback for Troy on Friday night.

“I feel like every week we grow closer as a team and show each other more and more what we can do,” he said. “It’s fun to be out there with my brothers.”

Last week the Trojans were a running team behind 176 yards and three touchdowns by Kevin Walters in an overtime victory against Belmont. But the Trojans liked the matchups for their outside receivers in Week 2 against Vandalia Butler, and Siler took advantage. “We have confidence in our dudes,” he said.

Siler ran for two touchdowns, but the final two minutes of the first half were a quarterback’s dream. After Weston Smith’s second interception, Siler hit Nicolas Barr in stride down the right sideline for a 32-yard touchdown pass. With 39 seconds left in the half, Siler hit Austin Stanaford with a 41-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline.

“Every day in practice we complete those, so in the game it shouldn’t be any different,” Siler said. “I know if I throw it up to them they’re going to come down with it.

”That sudden two-touchdown lead sparked the Trojans to a 35-14 victory over Butler in the inaugural Miami Valley League game. Both teams helped form the league with eight other former Greater Western Ohio Conference schools.

“I’ll bet Brayden did have a lot of fun,” said first-year Troy head coach Dan Gress, who has worked on the Troy staff since 2015. “He and the wide receivers made a lot of big plays that really opened the game up for our offense.”Like every high school team, the Trojans (2-0) are breaking in new starters. But for Butler second-year coach John Puckett varsity inexperience is in abundance. He started 10 sophomores Friday and four seniors who are first-year players.

“It’s tough, but we’re battling,” Puckett said. “We’ve got to communicate the game plan a little bit better and make it a little more simple so our young guys can execute it.”

The Aviators (0-2) started fast with opening drives to the Troy seven-yard line and the 10. But one drive ended with a blocked field goal and the second on an incomplete pass on fourth-and-1. They did respond to tie the score at 7-7 in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Luke Mitchell threw to junior wide receiver Ryan Wilson for a 49-yard touchdown.

Puckett said his young team is gritty, and the Aviators showed it in the third quarter with a drive that consumed eight minutes and 47 seconds and got them back in the game.

Mitchell made some big runs and completed a number of key passes on an 18-play, 85-yard drive to trim Troy’s lead to 21-14 with 1:02 left in the quarter.“

He made some great plays and he made some not-so-great plays,” Puckett said. “That’s what you have to live with when you have a sophomore quarterback.”

The Trojans responded with two drives that ended with four-yard scoring runs by Siler and Walters.“

At that point you’ve got to dig deep and say that the game’s on the line,” Siler said.Siler, a second-year starter, completed 8 or 19 passes for 182 yards and rushed 18 times for 99 yards. Walters carried 13 times, mostly in the second half, for 104 yards.

VANDALIA - With the morning mist swirling around the lights of Butler's Memorial Stadium and the sounds of whistle bursts filling the air, the Aviators continued preparation for the 2019 season with the start of two-a-day practices.

While the Aviators return a handful of starters from last year's playoff team, this group which totals around 50 players, will feature a number of new faces - and new yellow helmets.

The "new look" is actually a nod to the past, as the helmet was a Butler staple througout the 1960's and into the the later half of the 1970's, before giving way to a number of variations of the more recognizable purple.

The Aviators hope to build off of the success established in 2018, but will have to do so with a number of newcomers at key positions.

"We have a lot of talent and experience at the skill player positions," said Butler coach John Puckett, who enters his second season as the Aviators' head coach.

“Upfront however, we are young and inexperienced on both sides of the ball.”

Butler will have a couple of weeks of practice and a number of key tests along the way to prepare this team for the inaugural season in the Miami Valley League, where they will join familiar foes Greenville, Piqua, Tippecanoe and Troy in the Miami Division of the conference.

Fairborn, Sidney, Stebbins, West Carrollton and Xenia will round out the conference in the Valley Division.
For the Aviators scrimmages against Division I opponents Middletown, Centerville and Springboro will set the table for a Week One rematch with a very good Harrison Wildcats team.

Ahead of that, Puckett and staff will continue working on the offensive and defensive details, along with building the chemistry.

"We have a had good start to camp," said Puckett.

"Players are responding well to coaching and are learning to come together as a team."

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