Post 1,184 – Butler 28 Wood-Ridge 17

Butler 28 Wood-Ridge 17 

Trailing 17-7 with one minute left in the first half, Butler scored on their ensuing drive with seven seconds left, came out with the ball in the second half to go in front, and added another touchdown for 21 unanswered points and a 28-17 win over Wood-Ridge. 

First Quarter: Wood-Ridge opened the game with a drive that consumed nearly half the quarter and scored on a 7-yard pass from Jimmy Masucci to Antonio Loyola. The drive was highlighted by Masucci runs of 16 and 8 yards plus a 13-yard run by Loyola. Butler came right back, starting with runs by quarterback Bobby Battipede of 16 and 7 yards to bring the Bulldogs to the 50. They got on the board with a 6-yard run by Battipede through the middle behind a big push forward by the line. Wood-Ridge came right back on a 78-yard pass from Masucci to Jaydin Punt – a beautiful throw by Massuci, as Punt got behind the defender down the middle of the field. 

Second Quarter: In the latter part of the quarter, Wood-Ridge took possession on their 10 and Loyola went 25 yards and Masucci found Nick Scalera for 8 yards to their 43. The Blue Devils extended their lead to 17-7 with 1:01 left in the half on a 25-yard field goal by Kledji Elezaj. Butler started on their 35 after the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds and the Bulldogs moved quickly behind some short-to-intermediate pass completions to Nick Parkinson. Battipede then found Parkinson, who brought it in for the score with the help of some missed tackles and cut the Wood-Ridge lead to 17-14 with seven seconds left. 

Third Quarter: Butler opened the half with a drive that lasted more than six minutes and scored on a 5-yard run by Kyle Perry. The score was set up by an 11-yard run by Battipede on the previous play. This drive was the story of the second half for Butler’s offense, as the line controlled the play. Left to right with weights in parentheses, Jason Murray (300), Cole Benicasa (220), Tyler Tortola (245), Luca Toriello (230), and Maks Stojanovic (265) made a difference. 

Fourth Quarter: After forcing a Butler punt, Wood-Ridge took over on its 20. But a holding call negated a nice run and brought the ball back to the 12 and Masucci was sacked by linebacker Matt Barile to the 2-yard line on what looked like a blitz, forcing a punt. Butler then moved the ball and scored on a 6-yard run by Perry with six minutes left. Butler had another possession, moving the ball, but wisely took a knee to run out the clock. 

Butler was steady in the face of adversity. They were down and kept coming. The score before the half was huge, especially when they were coming out with the ball to begin the third quarter. The score on the third quarter’s opening drive gave them a lead they would not relinquish and enabled their larger line to wear down the Wood-Ridge defense. Battipede was the general of the offense, running, throwing, and directing things. The team became more confident as the second half progressed and it showed in the outcome. The experience probably had something to do with that, as Butler has five 3-year starters on offense and four on defense. 

Wood-Ridge started fast, but could not sustain their success in the second half. The second half belonged to Butler, but the Blue Devils have some things to build on. Masucci and Loyola are a good combination in the backfield and the pieces need to improve around them. There are a good number of underclassmen playing and improvement is very realistic.

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