The score was 27-26, Butler in the lead, with four minutes left in the fourth quarter when Cedar Grove scored with a 61-yard march down the field. The Bulldogs answered with an offensive series that ended with a pick, sealing the deal for Cedar Grove to advance in the playoffs. Butler was that close. Their other loss? 20-10 to Mountain Lakes, the eventual state champs, in a grueling defensive battle, with several long drives into the red zone coming up short on points. This team is so tough, rumor has it the players are heavyweight boxers on the weekends, just for fun.
Runningback/linebacker Ryan Cirillo. In 2013 this talented player had eight touchdowns and ran for 625 yards. Coach Luciani says “he’s durable, quick, agile, with good size” and the “best running back in the county.” We’re not sure who’ll be handing off to Cirillo, though. Two quarterbacks are battling it out for the starting position: Dan Mason, a baseball pitcher who didn’t play last year but brings a good arm and athleticism; and Dominick Gentile, a sophomore with great potential who learned under last year’s workhorse Glen Reger. Other offensive weapons include Stefen Henry and Shaun Mefford contributing to all that speed Luciani can’t stop smiling about. On defense, we’ll see Dan Castiglia and Shaun Mefford in the secondary, and on the line Steve Clarke, Garry Behnke, and Arber Ferati are all returning to the front.
Chink in the Armor
Replacing quarterback Glen Reger and wide receiver Travis Canty- the dynamic duo of last year’s offense—will be tough.
What Went Wrong in 2013?
Butler showed some inconsistency with run defense, and needed to work on filling holes and making those plays. In the Mountain Lakes game, Christian Cuccinello ran for over a hundred yards. Of course, Christian Cuccinello ran over a lot of teams for many hundreds of yards.
Biggest Game for 2014
Both Cedar Grove and Mountain Lakes were winnable games, and this year Butler will be hungry to take down the Mountain Lakes title, which makes Mountain Lakes the game to watch: 9/19, 7PM, at Butler HS.
Jason Luciani became head coach at Butler the same year his brother Jared assumed the position for Mt. Olive. Both Luciani brothers worked alongside father, Garry, who has been assistant coach for his sons. These guys have been talking football over the Thanksgiving dinner table for decades, and it shows. Luciani knows how to put together a tough team on both sides of the ball.