It's over!
Butler rally tops New Castle, 24-14, snaps 23-game football losing skid

By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor

BUTLER TWP — The 2011 football season opener couldn't have started much worse for Butler.
But it's not how you start. It's how you finish.
And the Golden Tornado's finish was memorable Friday night at Art Bernardi Stadium.
Butler scored 24 unanswered points after spotting New Castle a two-touchdown lead and snapped a 23-game losing streak dating back to 2008 with a 24-14 victory.
“Our kids never lost their composure. You have to keep faith in yourself,” first-year Tornado coach Clyde Conti said. “It's a blessing to celebrate youth. That's what we're doing tonight.
“You never give up on kids. Never.”
New Castle scored on its first two possessions, marching 77 yards in seven plays, then 80 yards in 13 plays after Butler went three-and-out. John Matarazzo threw touchdown passes of 4 yards to Marcus Carter and 9 yards to Darrien Rice.
Matarazzo completed seven of eight passes for 80 yards in the first period. He threw for 89 yards the rest of the night.
Sophomore running back Tevin McCaster — playing for the injured Jalen Holmes, who did not suit up — had seven carries for 80 yards in the opening quarter. He had 12 carries for 22 yards the rest of the way.
“We started hitting people,” Conti said. “We made a couple of adjustments and got into the flow of the game.”
Butler answered the Red Hurricanes' second score with an 11-play, 76-yard march of its own. Quarterback Zach Rader capped it with a 10-yard touchdown run.
A personal foul penalty after the score forced Colin Williamson to boot a 33-yard PAT.
New Castle's next play from scrimmage, Stew Allen caught a flare pass, rambled ahead for a first down, then lost the football while taking a jarring hit.
Ben McKnight recovered for the Tornado at the 'Canes' 33-yard line with
6:04 left in the half.
“I just followed the play,” McKnight said. “The quarterback flipped the ball out there and I started chasing the guy.
“Next thing I know, the ball's flying in the air right at me. That was big. We needed something like that.”
Trevor Wideman's 6-yard run capped an eight-play drive and the game was even at 14 at halftime.
“I don't know how this happened,”
New Castle coach Frank Bongivengo Jr. said of Butler's turnaround. “All I know is that it's on me. A coach can't allow a momentum swing like that. I don't blame a single kid on our team.
“They score, we put the ball on the ground right away and our defense is right back out there on a warm night. ... That can be tough.”
The 'Canes nearly regained the lead on the final play of the half, but a 29-yard pass to Carter in the end zone was ruled no good.
“He caught it, but the official said he came down out of bounds. I didn't get a good look at it,” Bongivengo said.
A Bob Vernick sack of Matarazzo forced a
New Castle punt from deep in its own territory midway through the third quarter. The punt traveled just 22 yards, setting up a 37-yard Williamson field goal with 4:56 left in the period.
New Castle drove inside Butler's 40-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, but a holding penalty wiped out a screen pass that would have taken the ball to the 20.
After the 'Canes turned the ball over on downs, Vernick sealed the deal with a 43-yard touchdown scamper down the left sideline.
“That felt great,” Vernick said. “That play just opened up.
Butler football is back!”
Vernick made sure of that, following blockers and breaking tackles for an 8-yard run on a third-and-6 play late to help run out the clock. He paced the Tornado with 80 yards on seven carries.
As time expired,
Butler players embraced each other and ran wildly across the field.
“I told their coach that I'm not one for the jumping around and carrying on, but these kids have been starved. ... He understood that,” Conti said.
“We made mistakes at critical times and they cost us in the long run,” Bongivengo said. “
Butler really didn't do anything differently in terms of adjustments.
“They just kept coming after us.”