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January 3, 2013

Unatego's Butler a First Team all-state selection


Unatego senior Tyler Butler’s First Team selection in Class D led a group of eight area players who earned all-state football recognition.

The all-state teams in classes B, C and D were released Wednesday by the New York State Sports Writers Association.

Butler, a two-way threat at quarterback and safety for the Spartans, earned First Team honors as a safety. Teammate Derek Liner, Walton’s Mike Beers and Bainbridge-Guilford’s Jake Mazzarella earned Second Team honors in Class D.

Sidney placed Nate McDonald on the Second Team and Brandon Walters on the Third Team in Class C.

Those earning honorable mention status from the area are Unadilla Valley’s Kody Homann in Class D and Sidney’s Austin Dean in Class C.

Butler led the Spartans to a 6-3 season that included a Division VII championship. He passed for 816 yards, and rushed for 618 and 11 touchdowns. Unatego’s season ended with a 26-21 loss to Tioga in a Section Four Class D semifinal. The Tigers went on to the Class D state semifinals, losing, 7-6, to eventual champion Randolph.

Butler, a Third-Team all-state pick as a junior, threw two touchdown passes to Jon Wingate in the loss to Tioga. The 6-foot, 195-pounder doubled as a hard-hitting safety.

Liner, a senior lineman who transferred to Unatego from Cooperstown, led the Spartans on both sides of the ball. At 6-2 and 245-pounds, Liner helped lead the way for an offense that averaged 35.5 points. Arguably, his biggest play of the season came in the loss to Tioga. With Unatego trailing, 26-7, in the third quarter, Liner stripped the ball from Tyler Spires _ a First Team all-state pick _ and returned it 34 yards to the Tigers’ 8.

The Spartans scored two plays later to begin their comeback.

Seniors Beers and Mazzarella earned Second Team recognition as linebackers, but both players made big impacts on the offensive side as well.

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