Despite a 14-0 loss to Hoover (Ala.) on Saturday, Byrnes has plenty of positives to take away on defense.
The Rebels' self-named "Strike Force" defense kept the Bucs in check for the most part and kept the game close. Hoover reached Byrnes' territory eight times but failed to score. The Bucs converted just four of 15 third-down attempts. Byrnes forced seven punts.
Hoover's offense was balanced, gaining 127 yards through the air and 126 on the ground. Its two touchdowns came on plays of 20 and 45 yards.
Hoover's last possession came on when Byrnes failed to convert on fourth down. Hoover ran out the clock to end the game.
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"Our defense gave us a chance to win," Byrnes coach Chris Miller said. "I was real pleased how we stopped the run like we did."
Jamal Johnson had seven tackles, Michael Eadie had six and Rashad Dillard and Bryan Feaster each had five tackles for the Rebels. Defensive back Davon Taylor stopped a Hoover drive with an interception in the fourth quarter.
"We weren't as good offensively today," Hoover coach Josh Niblett said.
"But (Byrnes) had a lot to do with that. We had several opportunities to come away with points. But overall for the first game, I thought we played pretty well."
Rashad Dillard said the defense will continue working hard after facing a tough loss.
"We just took away that nobody gives you anything in life," he said. "You have to take what's yours. You've got to work and learn how to be humble."
Rebels senior linebacker Andre Brewton said "(Today) shows a lot because we wanted to make a name for ourselves on defense. Our defense is the 'Strike Force', and we lived up to that name."