NORTH AUGUSTA — Last year, the North Augusta defense swarmed Midland Valley and held the potent Mustang offense to just six points. In Friday’s second half, they managed to outdo themselves this year.
All night the Jacket defense kept Midland Valley quarterback Daniel Carr on the run. Rashad Byrd, Victor Johnson and Sebastian Hernandez, among others, swarmed the Mustang quarterback and chased him from sideline to sideline. In the first half, Carr’s playmaking ability trumped all as he led Midland Valley to 21 points thanks to his athletic ability, buying him time.
It was a totally different game in the second half, though, as the Jackets locked down the Mustangs and shut them out on their way to a 44-21 victory.
“We just applied what we worked on in practice,” Derrick Quinn, North Augusta’s defensive coordinator, said. “We knew he had big play capability. We just knew we had to do a better job of staying in our passing lanes and playing football the way we know how.”
Quinn said at the half he told his defense one thing: quit waiting, and go get Carr.
“I mean, really, that’s all I told them,” he said. “Things would break down, and he is too good of an athlete. We couldn’t wait around, we just said don’t wait – just go.”
Quinn said Byrd is just as capable of big plays on the defensive side of the ball.
“We expect a lot out of him,” he said.
Louis Mackie, North Augusta’s defensive backs coach, said the secondary didn’t make many adjustments between halves.
“We just had to calm them down,” he said. “Our guys were playing a little bit faster than they should have. We just told them to slow down, get their eyes in the right place and make plays. The plays we gave up in the first half were simply us just being overexcited and overrunning plays.”
Mackie pointed out that his guys in the secondary were not responsible for Carr – that is the job of North Augusta’s front seven.
“We just had to stay with our guys,” Mackie said of making sure his defenders stayed on receivers.
Heading into the bye week, Quinn said that his defense has a lot to work on. “We’re nowhere near where we need to play,” Quinn said. “There’s no reason we should give up 21 points.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheScottRodgers.