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.