Butler played for nation, family in bowl game

Published 12:01am Thursday, February 13, 2014

NATCHEZ — Adams County Christian School freshman Sam Butler never thought his past would catch up with him, but he’s glad it did.

The multi-sport athlete, was one of five Natchez-area football players to be nominated to play in the 2014 International Bowl in Arlington, Texas on Feb. 8.

The bowl features the top student-athlete nominated by area coaches to represent USA Football in a game against Football Canada.

Butler was nominated by his Robert Lewis Middle School coach based on the work he put in from his junior high days, to his freshman year with the Rebels.

Butler said he found out he was chosen for the honor while attending the middle school’s basketball game.

“He came up to me and said, ‘You know you’re playing in a USA game, right?’” Butler said. “I couldn’t believe it because I never thought I would be selected for something like this.”

Though football season was over, Butler said he worked out on his own time while in soccer season to prepare for the big game.

“I just had to stay in the weight room and work on my fundamentals and foot work,” he said. “I knew there would be a lot of good players there.”

Butler said it took seven long hours to get to Arlington, but once he got there, it was straight to work.

“When we got there we went to the hotel then we had to get ready for practice,” Butler said. “The day we got there, we had two practices.”

Butler said he had the chance to meet high-caliber players from all over the nation, and he learned a lot of good techniques.

On game day, Butler played wide receiver and a touch of defensive back for the 2014 U.S. Under-17 National Team, and he said he felt he played well.

But despite playing on a big stage with college recruits scouting, Butler had a bigger motive to playing his best.

“Both of my sisters and my brother came to the game,” he said, “My brother lives in Texas so that was his first time seeing me play.”

Butler said he learned a lot for things that will help him improve as a football player for next season, and he hopes to be right back representing the nation next year.