Carroll County is sending a handful of all-county football players to the Eastern Shore this fall.
Century’s Dylan Wardle, Liberty’s McClain Butler and Peyton Scheufele, and Westminster’s Ben Flowers and Tre Price each recently committed to play football at Salisbury University. Each player received Times first-team all-county honors last fall.
“It will be great having familiar faces there to hang out with and have on my team,” Butler said. “I know we’re all really close so it’s just going to be another opportunity for us all to get closer.”
Butler and Scheufele have played for the Lions’ program for four years together. Lions coach Larry Luthe said they were both on the junior varsity team for a year, but Butler was pulled up to varsity about halfway through the season.
The duo excelled in their individual roles and helped the Lions improve year after year. In 2018, the Lions posted their first undefeated regular season record in program history and won their first outright county title since 2000.
As seniors, they led the Lions to an 8-4 record and the team’s first appearance in the state tournament.
Butler led the county in tackles as a sophomore, junior, and senior — he finished his senior year with 157 and is believed to be the program’s all-time tackles leader. Scheufele had 38 receptions for 579 yards and seven touchdowns, and was fourth on the team with 48 tackles.
“They were both very consistent in working out and leading by example,” Luthe said. “They’re both tough kids and they work hard. I always say when your best players are your hardest workers, it really sets a tone for how the year will be. They definitely fell into that category and you can’t ever discount that.
“They have such high expectations for themselves and they were critical of themselves and helped themselves to a higher standard, which helped others do the same.”
Scheufele said he enlisted the advice of former Liberty standout Noah Rohrer, a sophomore at Salisbury. Rohrer gave Scheufele a positive affirmation and Scheufele stayed with Rohrer during an overnight visit to meet the team and see the campus.
Salisbury moved to the top of his list of choices upon his return home, Scheufele said.
Scheufele is a three-sport standout at Liberty in football, basketball and baseball. He said he wants to use his experience at Liberty to make a positive impact and help younger kids improve their own skills.
“When I get older, that’s a side thing I want to do is coach and be able to make an impact on kids’ lives,” Scheufele said. “It means a lot and to be a figure in the community and walk around to see everyone wish you ‘Congratulations,’ people I’ve never even talked to, it’s nice.”
Added Luthe: “The best is yet to come for Peyton. He excelled in three sports his whole life and this will be his first time just focusing on one. He’s a tough kid who never sat out a practice and never complained about anything. He’s got an intensity and drive and he’s very hard on himself … I think the fact that he plays three other sports will make him a better football player because he has a good awareness of other things that are going on.”
Butler said he was in the process of choosing between Frostburg and Salisbury, but settled on Salisbury because the coaching staff strongly encouraged students to put academics before athletics when it came to making a decision.
Butler and Scheufele worked together in just about every play for the Lions and can likely expect the same at Salisbury.
“My responsibilities were based off of what he did. If you didn’t contain or keep the running back inside, he can bounce outside and I went outside. If the running back went inside of Peyton, I would go in. It can all translate, and we’ll hopefully be playing the same position.
“He’s D-end and I’m inside linebacker so it might not seem like it but those positions do correlate. We help each other out.”
Butler most recently placed second at the Class 2A state wrestling tournament and finished his senior year with a 43-4 record. He said he left everything he could have left in athletics at Liberty and he couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
“McClain just gets to the football,” Luthe said. “He’s always around the football and always finds it. He makes plays and works hard year round in the weight room. He loves the game and his ability to get to
the football stands out.”
Wardle, a linebacker, led Century with 91 tackles and helped the team make the 2A West playoffs. The Knights finished 6-4, 4-2 in county play.
Flowers and Price helped Westminster (9-3, 6-0) to its fifth county title in 10 seasons last fall and a spot in the 3A state quarterfinals. Flowers caught 11 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns while Price had 45 tackles and played offensive and defensive line.
Salisbury went 11-1 last season and made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III tournament. The Sea Gulls averaged 47.5 points per game and allowed 19.2 points per game.
Last season’s roster included sophomore lineman Jake Schneider (Century), junior linebacker Andrew Raines (Westminster), and Rohrer at wide receiver.