The East Webster defense led by Deangelo Liggins, top left of pile, Wilbur O'Briant, right, and Thomas Brooks, bottom, makes a stop earlier this season as Austin Cunningham (64) moves in to assist. (Submitted photo)
MATHISTON â€“ There's a saying that defense wins championships.
East Webster's defense is making that cliche look promising.
The Wolverines are 5-1 this season and a big reason is the defense. East Webster head coach Doug Wilson echos that cliche and knows how important defense is in this game.
"Defense wins championships," Wilson said. "It is just as important as a fast-paced offense."
The Wolverines have three shutouts for the season. Except for a 27-10 loss to Caledonia, East Webster has not allowed more than 14 points in a game.
Take away the 27 points surrendered against the Confederates, the Wolverines have allowed 20 points in the other five games.
Intensity is the key to the East Webster defense.
"We practice that everyday â€“ pursuit and get to the ball," Wilson said. "Trying to get all 11 kids to the ball. We keep it as simple as we possibly can so the kids won't have to think. They can react and execute."
Senior linebacker Thomas Brooks and the rest of the squad have bought into getting to the ball and keeping it simple.
"One of our drills is getting to the ball, (and) make our reads," Brooks said. "(We want to) gang tackle the guy with the ball and just get there as fast as we can."
Coming into the season, Wilson believed he had a good defense. He admits that it may not be the fastest or the most talented, but the Wolverines work as a squad and get after the football.
"We expected them to get to the ball and be aggressive because we had worked on that a lot during the offseason," Brooks said. "I knew I had one of the best linebackers we've had here in a long time with Thomas Brooks. He leads them to the ball. He's one of the main ones on defense that helps us be successful getting to the ball as a team."
Brooks is the leader for the defense, but he has seen younger players stepping up and taking over where they left off last year.
"I am one of the few that started on defense last year," Brooks said. "We have a lot of new young people stepping up and filling big shoes. They are doing an excellent job.
"We had some big shoes to fill. We are doing pretty good, getting better every week and making progress."
Senior defensive end Austin Cunningham has given the East Webster defense much pressure off the edge.
Junior cornerbacks Tyler Doss and McKinley Hollenhead have done a good job of keeping the secondary together. The Wolverines have averaged just under three interceptions per game.
East Webster starts Class 2A, Region 2, District 4 play this week at Ackerman. The Wolverines have played nowhere to their potential and are ready to pick it up for a run through the district.
"We have some strong teams coming up, but I think we will pull together," Brooks said. "We haven't showed all of our fronts. We have been trying to save as much as we can for district. There's more to come."
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