Tornado clinch playoff spot on the road

Butler overcomes sluggish start to defeat Erie, 37-20

Derek Pyda Eagle Staff Writer

September 23, 2022 Last Updated: September 23, 2022 11:42 PM High School


ERIE — Adrien Tate was a thorn in Butler’s side early on in Friday’s District 10 Class 6A football clash.

Erie’s speedster returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a score, then halted the Golden Tornado’s first drive with an interception at his own 20-yard line.

“We’ve come out flat on the road this year,” said Butler coach Eric Christy. “We addressed it, talked about it in practice this week. But I think our guys were so hyped up for this game early on. We need to find a balance there.”

Butler soon recovered, however, put up an impressive offensive effort and played dominant defense until late in the game in a 37-20 victory at Erie Veterans Stadium.

The win clinches for the Golden Tornado (4-1, 1-0) a postseason berth. Whether or not Butler will actually appear in the playoffs remains to be seen as the WPIAL has challenged the team’s ability to compete in the District 10 playoffs. The outcome will be decided in court.

“We can celebrate, but not as much because we don’t know how things are going to work out,” said Butler quarterback Mac Schnur. “We treated this like a playoff game.”

Schnur played a huge role in Butler’s rebound from its early deficit. Following Declan Dobson’s 37-yard punt return for a touchdown, followed by Max Gianneski’s PAT that tied the game, Schnur hooked up with Braylon Littlejohn for a 22-yard scoring play that gave the Tornado a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter.

Schnur finished the game with 151 passing yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers.

“We have a lot of guys who can catch the ball and made a point to spread the ball around,” said Christy.

Ryan Mclister and Dashawn Cox were on the receiving end of Schnur scoring tosses in the second quarter, from 40 and four yards, respectively, and Butler enjoyed a 30-7 lead at halftime.

Defensively, the Tornado stonewalled Erie’s running game, allowing just 13 yards to the Royals on 17 first-half attempts.

“We came in saying that no matter what they tried, we were going to shut it down,” said Butler linebacker JunJun Andrada.

Butler’s lead was pushed to 37-7 midway through the third quarter when Schnur hit Landon Lacey on a four-yard scoring pass.

In all, Schnur completed passes to six different targets.

“Our passing game wasn’t going as well as we hoped the last few weeks,” said Schnur.

“It was good to be successful with it tonight, plus we got the running game going.”

Butler totaled 187 yards on the ground on 40 attempts.

Two late touchdown runs from Tate, who took snaps in the Wildcat formation for much of the night, narrowed Erie’s deficit to 17 points, but the Royals (1-4, 0-2) got no closer.

The win was Butler’s third straight since losing to Meadville earlier this month.

“We’re 4-1 and that hasn’t happened in what, 30 years,” said Christy. “Erie’s a good team, but we knew they struggle throwing the ball and we wanted to force them into that.”

The Tornado renew a rivalry with Seneca Valley next Friday at Art Bernardi Stadium. The teams last met in 2019.

Butler 14 16 7 0 — 37

Erie 7 0 7 6 — 20

First Quarter

E - Adrien Tate 93 kickoff return (Paul Katende kick), 11:47

B - Declan Dobson 37 punt return (Max Gianneski kick), 3:11

B - Braylon Littlejohn 22 pass from Mac Schnur (Gianneski kick), :38

Second Quarter

B - Ryan Mclister 40 pass from Schnur (Gianneski kick), 7:49

B - Safety, ball rolled out of end zone, 5:57

B - Dashawn Cox 4 pass from Schnur (Gianneski kick), 3:19

Third Quarter

B - Landon Lacey 4 pass from Schnur (Gianneski kick), 5:49

E - Tate 22 run (Katende kick), :00

Fourth Quarter

E - Tate 11 run (run failed), 8:45

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Butler, Landon Lacey 14-51, JunJun Andrada 1-4, Dashawn Cox 9-37, David Graef 6-31, Braylon Littlejohn 5-34, Mac Schnur 3-24, Landon Dubyak 1-1, Zane Summerville 1-5. Erie, Adrien Tate 7-24, Kenyatta Howard 5-(-6), Amari Farmer 3-16, Sidney Campbell 4-34, Khazier Noble 4-20, Jaheim Mims 2-(-1), Akil Dixon 3-0.

Passing: Butler, Mac Schnur 11-15-151-1, Landon Lacey 1-1-27-0. Erie, Kenyatta Howard 1-3-(-1)-0, Adrien Tate 2-3-27-1.

Receiving: Butler, Braylon Littlejohn 3-53, Ryan Mclister 2-67, Landon Lacey 2-10, Dashawn Cox 2-10, Ian Wilson 2-25, David Graef 1-13. Erie, Adrien Tate 1-(-1), Sidney Campbell 1-14, Gio Crosby 1-13.