Broncos buck expectations

Posted Monday, Sep. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Back in May, following spring football practice, Legacy head coach Chris Melson was telling anyone who would listen that the 2013 Broncos were going to be a special group. Not many people were listening.

Now, in the first week of October, his team is 4-0 and after a landmark victory over Lancaster last Thursday, the Broncos are starting to turn doubters into believers.

“I think a lot of people looked at us and thought, ‘They’re going to have the same kind of team they had last year,’” linebacker Everett Williams said. “But we knew for a fact what we had and what we were going to be able to accomplish, and we’re still on our way there – to what we want to accomplish.”

Legacy has already equaled its win total from last season and last week defeated a team that was the 2012 4A Division II runner-up and just about everyone’s favorite to win District 15-4A this season.

“It was very exciting, it was a great comeback win,” Melson said. “To win the first district game and to beat the favorite, it’s a really big win. I’m real excited about my football team.”

The Broncos trailed Lancaster 30-14 in the third quarter but scored the last 30 points of the game for a 44-30 victory. The Broncos’ running game was effective as usual, and the defense made a statement of its own, scoring twice in the second half and on Williams’ fumble recoveries. Melson said it might be the biggest win in the school’s history.

“I think we made a huge statement,” running back Kijana Amous said. “Hopefully, people will understand that we’re a different team from previous years.”

In some ways, though, this Broncos team is a lot like last year’s squad. Legacy returned 19 starters and 28 lettermen. Perhaps what was a young team last season is just growing up, but whatever the reasons for this year’s improvement, Melson has been confident all along that this team could win any game it played in.

The primary offensive change this season is quarterback Terrence Ivery, who moved under center after playing receiver last year.

“Our quarterback has come into his own,” Melson said. “Terrence has done great and that’s really the only question mark we had. But he’s been super and answered the call.”

The Broncos still rely heavily on a bruising running game, and that was again the case against Lancaster. Amous pounded away at the Tigers defense, carrying the ball 37 times for 167 yards and three scores. The back knows that a lot of the credit belongs to the big guys up front – the offensive line.

“Those guys work hard every week and they just keep bullying defensive linemen,” Amous said.

“They pave the way for any success, whether it’s running or passing,” Melson added. “We’re really proud of what they’ve been doing. Now, we’ve got a lot of getting better to do, but those guys have been really good. I told them at halftime that if we win the battle in the trenches, we’ll win the game, and that’s what happened.”

Of course, any discussion of the Lancaster game isn’t complete without mentioning a defense that scored twice and pitched a shutout over most of the second half.

“We feel like each week they’ve gotten better,” Melson said. “I think that we’ve tackled well the entire season. We’re getting better against the run each week and that’s our goal is to stop the run.”

Williams is one of the driving forces behind that defense. He’s already scored three touchdowns this season, and word is spreading quickly about the campaign he’s putting together.

“He’s just starting to make big play after big play after big play,” Melson said of Williams. “It’s kind of what we always thought he would be as a senior and he really hasn’t let us down. He’s been a catalyst for our defense and he’s made two big plays that have changed games. He’s that kind of player.”

While the win against Lancaster is clearly a big one, the Broncos are quick to point out that it still counts just once in the standings.

“We’ve talked about what we have accomplished, and that’s nothing,” Melson said. “We’ve won one game in district. That’s great, but if you lose the rest of them you haven’t done anything, so they understand that hard work and dedication and commitment are what it takes to keep winning. I don’t think they’re going to think too highly of themselves.”

The players appear to be receiving Melson’s message.

“Our heads aren’t getting too big. Coach Melson always preaches humbleness and that’s that we’re trying to display and just move from week to week,” Amous said.

“There are still a number of things that we can get better at so that’s what we’re focusing on – to getting better every day,” Williams added.

And while the team attempts to stay focused, the student body is relishing in the success its team has brought to the school so far this season.

“People are just cheering us on and telling us to keep going,” Amous said. “We’ve got more friends at the games. It’s just a great feeling to have that kind of support at our school.”

“It’s like everybody is a fan now,” Williams said. “Everyone is showing love in the hallway. It’s great; we’re turning everything around at our school. It’s something we haven’t experienced before because in the past everyone would talk down on us.”

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