Natchez quarterback Butler ‘one of a kind’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2000

It had been a difficult season for Natchez senior quarterback Donald Butler. The team was 2-8 heading into its final game of the year – the last game Butler would play as a Bulldog.

&uot;We wanted to make a statement for next year’s team,&uot; Butler said. &uot;We wanted to go out on a high note.&uot;

The Bulldogs destroyed Forest Hill 56-24, or more accurately, Butler destroyed Forest Hill.

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Butler finished the game 8-of-12 for 247 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the air and added an astounding 312 yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries rushing.

His performance didn’t surprise Elbert &uot;Mo&uot; Lyles, who coached Butler for three years.

&uot;He’s one of a kind,&uot; Lyles said. &uot;He has everything a coach could look for in a quarterback.

&uot;He’s a leader. He’s a student. He’s a model citizen. He’s a religious person. He’s a hard worker in the weight room,&uot; Lyles said. &uot;I don’t foresee another like him in a while.&uot;

Quarterbacks coach Robert Cade couldn’t agree more.

&uot;I’ve coached some good quarterbacks,&uot; he said, &uot;and I rank Donald among the best.&uot;

That’s high praise from someone who has coached the likes of James Jones, who went on to play for Louisiana Tech, and James McFarland and James Davis, now both coaches at Ferriday High School.

It is especially high praise considering Butler was a starting free safety as a sophomore. But when coaches considered his speed, strength, intelligence and leadership ability, he was asked to move to offense.

&uot;At first I didn’t like the idea, Butler said. &uot;I like to hit, to get into it. A quarterback can’t. You have to stay focused and keep everybody in order.

&uot;But my team needed me.&uot;

And the rest is history – not that Butler is done playing football.

He has been contacted by Southern Miss, LSU and Southern University, he said, and would like to attend college on an athletic scholarship and continue to play football, even if it means a return to the defensive backfield.

&uot;I just want to play football,&uot; he said.

But Lyles thinks Butler has the ability to play quarterback at the Division I level.

&uot;It would have a lot to do with where he goes and how they utilize him,&uot; Lyles said. &uot;There are certain colleges that I think he could step right in and help them.

&uot;Rice University runs a veer offense, and they have a guy just like Donald running it,&uot; he said.

&uot;We wanted someone with the heart of a lion, a competitor,&uot; Cade said. &uot;This guy is it.&uot;