All season long the talk had been about how strong the Justin Northwest offense was, and rightfully so, but last week in arguably the biggest game of the season it was the defense that stole the show.
The defense held a potent Keller offense in check, limiting the previously unbeaten Indians to 57 yards in the first half and just over 100 through three quarters. While it might have surprised most, it didnt come as a shock to Northwest coach Bill Patterson.
Our defense has played pretty good since the middle of 2011 and played really well last year, Patterson said. Weve played good defense this year and have held people when weve had to.
It was the Texan defense that directly led to the team's first 21 points last week. Twice Keller was forced to punt from deep in their own territory, then Parker Kneis picked off a pass in the end zone. Northwest scored each time.
Keller is great at running the ball and our kids had a pretty good scheme and understanding of what they were going to do, Patterson said. Our defensive coordinator Robert Johnson and his staff did a great job of preparing the kids.
Patterson said one of his teams goals is to make the team earn their points hard way and never give up.
We want to make the other team snap it again and again, Patterson said. We want to make them try hard to have to score because you never know whats going to happen on the next play. We talk about when we have them backed up dont give them a first down and let me them out. We practice a drill where we put the ball on the 5 and tell the offense you have to get a first down and the defense not to give one up.
On average, Patterson said the first-team defense is giving up about 150 yards per contest.
Our kids have really stepped it up, and this week Joe Gonzales our defensive tackled and Duke Kicinski at middle linebacker had another solid outing, Patterson said. Our two defensive ends Lonnie McKinnis and Dylan Housley also played really well.
Patterson called the unsung hero of the defense Jacob Barker their sam linebacker, but the team has several players who seem to step up weekly.
Weve got a good defense and we always have a good game plan from the coaches, senior Duke Kicinski said. We have a good senior defense and one of our goals is to play for the man next to us and never play selfish. Sometimes we dont get enough recognition, but we know what we do and the team does as well and thats all that matters.
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