High School Sports

Defense wins games at playoff time

Rutland running back Montez Cheney (2) looks for a hole in Westside’s stout defense during their game earlier this season.
Rutland running back Montez Cheney (2) looks for a hole in Westside’s stout defense during their game earlier this season. jvorhees@macon.com

Westside head football coach Spoon Risper thought that he would field a pretty strong defensive team this year, but even he is probably a little bit surprised by the dominance his team has shown during its six game winning streak.

Led by first year defensive coordinator Richard Fendley Jr., the Westside defense has given up a total of 33 points in those six wins.

They are coming off of a 14-0 shutout of Windsor Forest last Friday night in the first round of the GHSA 3A state playoffs and will go on the road to meet Liberty County this Friday night.

“I think it has a lot to do with the kids understanding our schemes and not bombarding them with things to remember,” Risper said. “They have bought in to what Coach Fendley wants to do, which is to basically play as fast as we can. We have a bunch of hard working kids who are collectively playing great team defense.”

Westside is led by DeAngelo Haynes, who averages 10 tackles a game and has 14 tackles for loss to go with 10 sacks this season. Quintaevious Brown had a huge game against Windsor Forest with eight tackles and four tackles for loss, while Tavores Pearson added six tackles and an interception.

Several other schools had great first round defensive efforts with Mary Persons shutting out Carver 27-0 and Jones County holding a strong Griffin offense to only eight points.

“We had to replace nine starters from a year ago, so we really didn’t know what we were going to have at the beginning of the year,” Mary Persons head coach Brian Nelson said. “We feel like they have progressed and learned throughout the season and they are just a good group of kids that enjoy each other and play well together.”

Mary Persons will be at home in the second round of the GHSA 4A state playoffs against Baldwin, and will once again be led by Jatorian Hansford, Tre Slaton, LaDondre Bucker and LaDamion Sands.

Meanwhile, Jones County has been known for being able to put points on the board behind Teldrick Ross and Drake Bolus, but head coach Justin Rogers and the Greyhounds are also playing strong on the defensive side of the ball. “When it gets down to playoff time field position is so important and playing good defense is vital to winning that battle,” Rogers said. “Our defense played lights out last Friday and gave our offense great field position all night.”

Jones County has another tough test Friday when they take on Wayne County, which is 9-1, in the second round of the GHSA 5A state playoffs. The defense will be led by Antonio Evans, who has 11 tackles, six of them for losses in the last game, to go with two sacks. DeMontae Trawick, Christian Veal, Ja’Darien Boykin and Cameron Snead have all had huge years on defense.