If there’s one position a Yellow Jacket doesn’t want to find themselves at this season, it would be running back.
Denison has more than a stable worth of capable ball-carriers which would make plenty of teams jealous to find one consistent fixture in the backfield.
Senior Darrian Butler finds several names ahead of him on the depth chart but that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of producing a highlight or two.
“I know my role,” Butler said. “I know what I’m supposed to do.”
During three of the last four games Butler has showcased just how loaded the Yellow Jackets are. In a district-opening victory against Wichita Falls, he had five carries for 21 yards. Then he had six carries for 44 yards in a win against Denton.
In both of those games, Butler did not score as Denison, after getting in the red zone, decided to kneel out the clock.
“It was frustrating but we were up by a lot,” Butler said. “It would have made my stats look better but it wasn’t necessary.”
Last week in the win over Denton Braswell, Butler was the focal point of the second half and finished with 10 carries for 77 yards and his first touchdown of the season, a seven-yarder in the closing seconds of the third quarter.
“It felt pretty good,” he said. “I just took what I could get.”
His only other score came in last year’s loss to Denton Ryan.
“He’s a team player. He’s on a lot of our special teams,” Denison head coach Chad Rogers said. “He’s a selfless kid and when he scored the whole sideline erupted. That was really neat to see.”
His second carry went for 36 yards and almost found the end zone and half of his runs gained at least five yards.
Butler sits at 21 carries for 142 yards and a score on the season and is one of six Yellow Jackets — five of them running backs — to run for at least 100 yards and a touchdown this season.
The captains for Denison’s win against Denton Braswell last week were seniors Austin Emery, Ty McFail, Talon Moore and junior Nate Maulsby. It was the eighth straight week McFail was selected a captain and after the bye week he and Emery were named permanent captains the rest of the year with the other two spots rotating based on choices by offensive coordinator Charlie Means and defensive coordinator Todd Wallis.
It was the fifth time Emery was a captain. Maulsby was selected for the fourth time and third straight week while Moore was a captain for the first time this season.
The Denison Booster Club will be selling Battle of the Ax t-shirts during all lunches (11:18 a.m.-1:22 p.m. at Denison High school from Monday to Friday.
The shirts are $12 for youth sizes and $15 for adults sizes.
The Denison tennis team had four selections for the all-District 5-5A team for their efforts during the fall season.
Haylee Cannon was first-team all-district in Number 1 singles and teamed with Jackson Brandt for first-team all-district honors in mixed doubles.
Bailey Stone at Number 3 singles and Micaiah Wetzold at No. 6 singles were honorable mention all-district.
Hunting goose eggs
For the first time in nearly a decade, the Denison defense is coming off a shutout.
The Jackets not only kept Denton Braswell out of the end zone, they nearly kept the Bengals out of their end of the field in the 56-0 victory last Friday.
Braswell finished with just 97 yards in the contest — 34 in the second half — and had only eight snaps in Denison territory. It took five possessions for the Bengals to get a first down and they managed just four total.
“We knew their record but we didn’t let that affect us. They were still good athletes,” senior linebacker Mateo Reyes said. “It’s all about the mentality. We’re going to try to limit them as best as we can.”
Javen Stewart recovered a fumble for the only turnover, and was tied for the team lead in tackles with Nate Maulsby and Reyes at eight. Zaelin Wimbish chipped in six tackles and Reyes and Bralynn Ramsey added sacks.
Part of the effort was holding Braswell to 50 yards on 35 carries and 15 of the 49 plays lost yardage while another seven gained no more than two yards. Only four Braswell plays went for double-digit yardage.
It was the first shutout by the Jackets since a 58-0 victory during the middle of the 2008 season against McKinney North, a span of 100 games. Since that time Denison had come close — the 2015 opener was a 49-7 win over Frisco Liberty — but never been able to dominate the scoreboard like they did against Braswell.
The victory against McKinney North was also the largest margin of victory for Denison since last week.
So far in district play, the Jackets have held three of four opponents to 21 points or fewer and held six of eight foes overall to under 25 points. The last time Denison did that in a season was 2009, when it held eight of 15 opponents beneath that threshold.