With seemingly every game in the District 24-6A landscape looking like a tossup, the Clear Springs Chargers defense knew they really needed to step up against an explosive Clear Brook offense last week.
Specifically, Clear Springs defensive backs Chase Arnaud, Darian Bell, Seth Porter, Christian Waller and James Wokaty joined forces to hold the Wolverines’ top weapon — big receiver Caleb Chapman, a Texas A&M commit — to no receptions. It’s no easy task, but the Chargers DBs believed in themselves and got it done.
“We knew we were going to lock him up,” Waller said.
Clear Springs head coach Craig Dailey praised his secondary unit’s ability to execute the game plan to a tee in last Friday’s 42-7 win over Clear Brook (which improved the Chargers’ record to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in district play). That plan involved moving cornerback Waller to safety and plenty of physicality with Chapman.
“Our coaches gave a great game plan,” Porter said. “They switched the secondary up a little bit, moving me and Christian to safety and letting Christian play a little more over the top, and we always had someone banging on him, so that really helped.”
After an up-and-down start to the season, the Chargers’ secondary feels like they are improving each week, with last week’s showing against Clear Brook proving to be one of the defense’s best performances, to date.
“We’re eliminating small mistakes … and getting better at eye discipline — during the play, keying on our guy, even though the ball is going another way, doing your job,” Wokaty said.
When things are going good in the secondary or when things are going not so good in the secondary, the impact on the defense as a whole is clearly affected.
“It all starts with our alignment in the secondary; they make all the adjustments to formations,” Dailey said. “Usually, when people have big plays against us, it’s because we’re not lined up right, and they’ve done a good job the last couple weeks getting us lined up.”
Unlike last week’s game, the secondary will prepare for a more run-heavy team with a road game at Friendswood this week, but will still have a significant role.
“They’re still important; our safeties have to be really involved in the run game,” Dailey said. “We were pass-first last week, trying to make them run the football. This week, it’s the other way. We’ve got to stop the run first.”
“For the times they do throw the ball, we have to make sure we lock that up, and then just sit on the run game,” Waller said. “Our D-linemen and linebackers are going to do their job; we just have to come up and sit on the run.”