Last year, Phillip Butler saw first-hand how history was written.
This year, Butler went about rewriting history. And he plans on doing it again next year.
North Hagerstown’s junior running back broke five of the school’s single-season offensive records in 2011 and helped lead the Hubs to a 7-3 record, their best mark since 2006.
Butler is The Herald-Mail’s Washington County Football Offensive Player of the Year.
Butler ran for 1,743 yards, breaking North’s single-season mark set by Anthony Winter just last year.
“He was happy for me,” Butler said. “He was mad his record was broken, but he was happy for me.”
Butler also set school records for rushing touchdowns (24), total touchdowns (26), points scored (158) and all-purpose yards (2,006).
Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even supposed to be a running back this season.
Butler started the year as a slot receiver, but was moved into the backfield when running back Tre Anderson was injured in North’s season opener against Theodore Roosevelt.
“He wasn’t taking any reps at running back. When Tre went down, Isaiah (Keyes) was the main guy,” North coach Dan Cunningham said. “We were trying to do a platoon, but the more reps Phil got, the better he got.”
He didn’t carry more than 12 times in any of North’s first four games. The picture changed in Week 5 against then-unbeaten Brunswick.
Butler carried 28 times for 208 yards and three touchdowns as the Hubs rallied for a 34-32 win and Butler established himself as a workhorse.
“The first half of that game, I was running kind of soft and couldn’t do much,” Butler said. “I talked to the linemen at halftime, and we came out and dominated in the second half. I couldn’t do it without the line.”
He carried at least 23 times in each of the five remaining games, including a 39-carry, 329-yard, five-touchdown epic against Catoctin.
“It took him a bit to learn the system as a running back,” Cunningham said. “But you can’t teach what he has, just unbelievable vision and next-level ability.”
Butler already is looking forward to next season, when the records that are in his sights are his own.
“Next year, I want to get 2,000 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns,” Butler said. “I want to break all those records again. That’s my goal.”
That would be just fine with his coach.
“I’d like to see him get more than 30 touchdowns,” Cunningham said. “If he keeps working hard in the weight room, he could be that and more.”
Joining Butler on the All-County First Team Offense:
Adam Mellott, Clear Spring, QB: Mellott became the first quarterback in Washington County history to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He completed 144 of 231 passes for 2,007 yards, 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Justin Jardeleza, Boonsboro, RB: Led the Warriors’ stable of backs with 803 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He also returned three interceptions for scores, including one in Boonsboro’s playoff win over Mountain Ridge.
J.T. Rice, Boonsboro, RB: Rice ran for 639 yards in 8 1/2 games and scored nine touchdowns. He also converted 18 of 23 PATs.
Isiaha Smith, South Hagerstown, RB: Smith ran for 728 yards and 12 touchdowns, capping the season with a 224-yard, three-touchdown game against North.
Ryan Aaron, Clear Spring, WR: Aaron was Mellott’s favorite target, catching 44 passes for 644 yards and seven touchdowns. He was one of the Blazers’ top defensive backs, too, intercepting three passes.
Tylar Habel, Clear Spring, WR: Habel had a season that nearly duplicated last year. His 2011 stats: 29 catches, 452 yards, three touchdowns. His 2010 stats: 29 catches, 451 yards, three touchdowns.
Josh Hall, North Hagerstown, WR: More than half of the Hubs’ completed passes went to Hall, who hauled in 20 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns.
Aaron Turner, Boonsboro, TE: Turner was the Warriors’ top receiver, catching 14 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns.
Malik Barnwell, South Hagerstown, OL: Barnwell was the top vote-getter at guard in MVAL Antietam voting.
Dylan Dopson, North Hagerstown, OL: Dopson was dominant on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He opened holes on the right side of the offensive line for Butler and North’s other backs and recorded seven sacks and nine other tackles for loss defensively.
Zach Nalley, Williamsport, OL: Nalley anchored the Wildcats’ offensive line and was a second team MVAL Antietam pick at guard.
Daved Paddack, North Hagerstown, OL: Paddack joined forces with Dopson on the right side of the North offensive line to open running lanes.
Aaron Rowland, South Hagerstown, OL: Rowland was the MVAL Antietam’s top vote-getter at center and teamed with Barnwell to help give quarterback Brandon Hess time to throw.
Brandon Hess, South Hagerstown, UTIL: Hess was effective with his arm and his feet, passing for 1,021 yards and 12 touchdowns and running for 516 yards and five touchdowns. He was also second in the county in punting with a 34.3 average.
Second Team Offense
QB, Ryan Ruiz, Boonsboro, Jr.
RB, Zach Krall, Smithsburg, Jr.
RB, Stephen Smith, Clear Spring, Jr.
RB, Gunnar Whipp, Boonsboro, Jr.
WR, Nnamdi Enechionyia, Saint James, Jr.
WR, Hunter McKinley, Hancock, Jr.
WR, Jordan Palladino, Williamsport, Sr.
TE, Mike Sensenbaugh, Clear Spring, Sr.
OL, Fred Funke, Boonsboro, Sr.
OL, Ryan Minella, Williamsport, Sr.
OL, Adam Proctor, Clear Spring, Sr.
OL, Dalton Shoemaker, North Hagerstown, Sr.
OL, Trevor Vinson, South Hagerstown, Jr.
UTIL, Nate Souders, Hancock, Jr.