Spotlight: Swansea Tigers
Relentless pursuit of opposing quarterbacks has been a hallmark of Swansea’s undefeated, top-10 team this season
09/19/2012 12:00 AM
09/19/2012 12:49 AM
There is nothing mysterious in the Swansea water, said coach Chad Leaphart.
The abundance of sacks — a total of 22 in four games — produced by the Tigers defense has a simple explanation, he said.
“Those guys are just playing good football,” said Leaphart, whose Tigers are 4-0 and ranked in the state’s top 10. “They’re working hard and we’ve got a good defensive coach that’s putting them in the right position.”
First-year defensive coordinator Caleb Clark credits his athletes.
“We have some great athletes; that’s made my job a lot easier,” he said. “For the most part, the sacks that we’ve gotten have come from the defensive line. It’s more technique and those kids making plays than any grand defensive scheme.”
Having several pass-oriented teams on their non-conference schedule has afforded the Tigers chances to hone their pass-rushing skills.
Sacks leader Terrance Salley, a defensive end, said he and his teammates try to make the most of every opportunity.
“We’re not competing against each other to see who can get the most sacks, but in a way we are,” said Salley, who has six sacks.
“We’re all very competitive and every play, we’re trying to be the one to get there first.”
Jacob Regalis has four sacks. Teammates Byron Johnson, Randy Brown and Josh Livingston each have three.
Leaphart is grateful to have such a crew leading the defense.
“They’re just all incredible athletes, and they all play with a motor that just doesn’t quit,” he said. “That, as much as anything, has a lot to do with the pressure we’ve been able to put on opposing quarterbacks.”
Swansea’s fast and agile defense has held opponents to an average of 119 yards per game, and put the Tigers in a strong position. Salley said knowing how important their job is to the team’s goals drives the defense.
“We are relentless on the line and linebackers and we want to get after the quarterbacks,” he said. “It’s just second nature. We just go out there and try to play hard and the big plays just come naturally.”
Leaphart is glad that bunch is on his side of the line of scrimmage.
“That tenacity is what really helps them,” Leaphart said. “They just turn it loose on the football field.”
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