CINCINNATI — It was a great tribute to Vandalia-Butler Coach Greg Bush and his staff to take their football team to playoffs. Unfortunately the Aviators faced a very tough opponent from the Greater Catholic League in Cincinnati La Salle.
The Lancers entered the game with an 8-2 record suffering losses to Cincinnati Elder 21-7 in their final regular season game and 24-14 to St. Xavier on October 9.
The Lancers proved too tough on this night as La Salle scored a 52-14 victory to end the Aviators’ season.
So far the Lancers have scored 399 points in 2015 and against Butler senior running back Jeremy Larkin accounted for 24 of La Salle’s points with four touchdowns and 303 yards rushing, eight short of the school single game rushing record of 311 set in 2007 by Kendall Owens against Henry Clay. La Salle lifted Larkin late in the third quarter, otherwise he would have easily shattered the school single game rushing record.
Larkin averaged 18.9 yards per carry, similar to the performance of Raveion Hargrove who averaged 20.1 yards per carry and 361 yards to help lead Trotwood-Madison to a 57-35 victory over the Aviators in the final game of the regular season.
Larkin had amassed 245 yards by halftime with three touchdowns to help give the Lancers a commanding 38-7 lead. Junior Christian Turner finished with 66 yards on seven carries and one touchdown while Jarell White had 46 yards on three carries that gave the Lancers a triple threat backfield to be reckoned with.
“We didn’t tackle very well tonight and Larkin is part of the reason why,”said Butler Coach Greg Bush.
Larkin was stacked up several times by the Butler defense but he managed to bounce outside to rip off some big gains.
“We had him stopped in the hole and he bounced out and would make a good run out of it,” Bush noted.
Early on it looked like Butler would give La Salle a battle. The Lancers scored with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter on a three play, 76 yard drive capped by a four yard Larkin run. The Aviators answered with a nine play, 80 yard drive capped by a 12 yard touchdown pass by Chandler Craine to Noah Ballard with 9:47 remaining in the first half to tie the game at 7-7.
Craine completed 11 of 29 pass attempts in the first half for 156 yards and one touchdown with Ballard making six receptions for 70 yards and the lone Butler touchdown. Nic Martin caught two passes for 43 yards in the first half and also rushed for 25 yards on nine carries.
“We fought as long as we could with all that we had,” Bush added. “It just wasn’t enough. It’s been a great ride this year. It’s always tough to end your season on a loss, but all but seven teams are going to do that in Ohio. It’s been a pleasure and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
La Salle added 31 more first half points to virtually put the game away. The Lancers added two more touchdowns in the third quarter on a 58 yard Larkin run and on an eight yard run by Turner to boost the lead to 52-7.
The Aviators final score came on a two yard run by Nic Martin with 9:20 remaining in the fourth quarter. Anthony Rigalli tacked on his second extra point of the night to make it 52-14.
From there both teams sent backup players into the game with no additional scoring taking place.
Martin ended the game with 48 yards on 13 carries. Craine finished the night with 17 completions on 41 pass attempts and 214 yards. Ballard had seven receptions for 80 yards and one TD. Torin Fletcher had three receptions for 20 yards, Martin two receptions for 43 yards and Treylann Sanders had two receptions for 39 yards.
Martin also had five tackles on defense and one assist. Sanders also had five tackles, Ronnie Wallace three tackles and Ballard one tackle and three assists.
V-B 07 00 00 07 – 14
LaS 07 31 14 00 – 52
Nic Martin breaks free for a big gain against Cincinnati La Salle.
Center Tim Smith, left guard Delshon Williams (52) and left tackle Gavin Kohler (55) prepare to block.
Quarterback Chandler Craine and running back Nic Martin look toward the sideline as a play is signaled in by the coaching staff.
Drew Sipos (67) prepares to block La Salle’s Austin Romard as Chandler Craine gets ready to hand off to Nic Martin.
The Butler Cheerleaders pose for a photo at La Salle.
The Butler Band prepares for its halftime show.
The Aviators head to the locker room at halftime.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind