Lions lose steam
BUTLER — A dominant offensive line, hard running and control of the clock.
This is what Butler was waiting for.
“I thought we’d have this last week,” Golden Tornado coach Rob Densmore said.
They had it this week.
The Tornado rushed for 283 yards on 55 carries Friday night, including second-half scoring possessions that ate 6:07 and 8:15 off the clock, respectively, in a 45-28 high school football victory over Altoona at Art Bernardi Stadium.
“We knew they’d be physical, but I thought we did some things in the first half to handle that,” Altoona coach Nick Felus said. “After that, we couldn’t sustain anything.
“We have big, physical guys up front, too. We just didn’t get it done tonight.”
Altoona (1-2) began the game with Nathan Burket recovering a Butler fumble on the first offensive play. Then, on fourth-and-1 from the Tornado 26, Braeden Burchfield headed for the right corner of the end zone on a quarterback keeper.
Just before Burchfield reached the goal line, Butler defender Julian Jones punched the ball out of his hands and through the end zone for a touchback.
Still, Altoona was able to put up leads of 7-0, 14-7 and 21-14.
“Despite us putting the ball on the ground, the game started out the way we wanted,” Felus said. “We just didn’t capitalize enough.”
“Our offensive line was feeling it tonight,” Butler halfback Luke Michalek said. “They were blowing holes wide open, pushing guys downfield.
“We only ran about three plays on offense. They couldn’t stop it.”
Butler (1-1, 0-1) came back to grab a 28-21 lead by halftime. Michalek had 282 all-purpose yards, including 132 rushing on 20 carries, in the first half. He scored all four Butler touchdowns in the first half.
Michalek finished the game with 26 carries for 149 yards and 299 all-purpose yards. He did not play offense in the final 16 minutes of the game.
He had 150 yards in punt and kick returns in the first half.
“We have to address some things on special teams and we;’ll do that,” Felus said.
“I knew I was coming out,” Michalek said of the second half. “One man down, another man rises. My brother was going the same thing I was doing.”
John Michalek replaced his brother at halfback and rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m most happy about, that we fought back and proved the game’s not over because you fall behind,” Densmore said.
“We’ve talked about how adversity turns games in different directions,” Felus said. “They (Butler) responded to that better than we did.”
Butler’s 11-play, 43-yard drive in the third quarter resulted in a 34-yard Emery Douthett field goal. A 13-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth ended with John Michalek’s 5-yard TD run that salted the game away at 38-21 with 5:18 to play.
Burchfield threw for 169 yards, and Cameron Fasick had 10 catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns for Altoona. Nick Villano had an interception for the Mountain Lions.
Logan Dubyak, Butler’s leading rusher and receiver last week, did not suit up due to a foot injury. Altoona running back Tyler Petucci had two carries in the first quarter, then did not return.
Butler did not throw a pass in the second half.
“I’ll take a grind-it-out 21-14 win all the time. If we can score 45 points? I’ll take that, too,” Densmore said.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Altoona 7 14 0 7 — 28
Butler 7 21 3 14 — 45
A — Lawhead 29 run (Eisel kick), 7:11
B — L. Michalek 1 run (Douthett kick), :28
A — Fasick 29 pass from Burchfield (Eisel kick), 9:34
B — L. Michalek 7 run (Douthett kick), 7:09
A — Fasick 7 pass from Burchfield (Eisel kick), 3:31
B — L. Michalek 9 run (Douthett kick), 3:10
B — L. Michalek 4 run (Douthett kick), :35
B — Douthett 34 field goal, 4:35
B — J. Michalek 5 run (Douthett kick), 5:18
B — Herold 21 run (Douthett kick), 1:55
A — Fasick 40 pass from Burchfield (Eisel kick), :32
Rushing: Altoona–Burchfield 7-44, Petucci 2-9, Lawhead 7-45, Barnes 1-5, McCauley 6-20, Fasick 1-(-2), Copeland 3-20. Butler–Fleeger 6-19, L. Michalek 26-149, Tilko 5-21, TEAM 1-(-19), Herold 8-53, J. Michalek 9-60.
Passing: Altoona–Burchfield 13-25-169-0. Butler–Fleeger 3-6-32-1.
Receiving: Altoona–Fasick 10-128, Barnes 1-2, Wagner 3-46. Butler–Kopp 1-15, Dietrich 1-9, Stazer 1-8.
TEAM STATS A B
First downs 16 15
Rushes-Yards 27-141 55-283
Passing Yards 169 32
Comp.-Att.-Int 13-25-0 3-6-1
Total Yards 310 315
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 2-1
Penalty-Yards 4-30 5-55