Bray-Doyle faced a difficult transition last year from 8-man to 11-man football in District A-4. Coach Warren Butler was prepared for that. "The toughest part was convincing players,” Butler said. "You’re a 5-5, 6-4 team in 8-man, everybody thinks you’re not going to win a game in 11-man, and that’s not necessarily true.” But Butler didn’t envision encountering the difficulties he had to face in his first season at Bray-Doyle. Two players on the junior high team — brothers of players on his varsity team — were killed in a car accident early in the season. Later, one of his players was shot in the leg with a deer rifle by a hunter who had missed a bird being used as target practice. "You’ve just got to move on like you’re supposed to,” Butler said. "You’ve got to take care of your kids first, and that’s what we do.” Butler learned a lot in his first year at Bray-Doyle, when the Donkeys went 2-8, but hopes his sophomore campaign is less eventful. All he wants on his plate in 2009 is a chance to continue his program’s transition into its new class and a new game. "There’s not a whole lot of difference,” he said. "The main thing is, if you’ve got two kids who are pretty good in 8-man, you’re going to be pretty good. In 11-man, you just need a few more.” Bray-Doyle opens the season at Carnegie on September 4.
A new EmpireTony Roberts wasn’t named Empire coach until mid-July. So preseason practice will be an exercise in speedy learning. "We’ve got an all new coaching staff and administration. They’ve got to get used to us,” Roberts said. "Our No. 1 goal is just to make the playoffs.” He’ll try to do it with a system that operates mostly out of the I-formation, but he says he’ll use a little bit of the spread formation, too.
All-around playerIf Healdton rebounds from a 3-7 season in 2008, J.J. Montaie will be a big reason why. The junior quarterback returns for the Bulldogs, a year removed from a sophomore season that saw him do more than just throw for touchdowns. Montaie also returned several punts for touchdowns, and as a cornerback returned an interception for a score. "He did all of that when he was so young, I’m expecting big things out of him this year,” Healdton coach Reade Box said. "He’s going to be a good one.”
Bray-Doyle deals with adversity