They say offense gets all the headlines, but that’s not always true at South Pointe High School. The Stallions’ football team has always made big plays on defense and there are two defensive alumni currently playing on Sundays in the NFL.
The South Pointe defense is a big reason why the football program recorded its fourth state championship in the 10 years the school has been open on Saturday.
South Pointe held a hot Midland Valley squad that came in averaging 36.5 points and 358 yards during the playoffs to a goose egg and 222 yards in its 35-0 victory. That piggy-backs off of shutting down Hartsville and its high-powered offense in last year’s championship victory. In that one, the Stallions held the Red Foxes to a single touchdown. Saturday, South Pointe got the shutout, its first of the season.
Mustang running back Drekwon Carr came posted a 2,000 yard plus rushing season, but had only 85 yards on 25 carries for a 3.4 yard average in the championship game. His cousin, quarterback Daniel Carr, entered the game with 735 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, but finished the title game with zero yards, negative-31 counting sack yardage. As a team, the Mustangs were held to 1.8 yards-per-carry, running for 54 net yards on 30 carries.
Stallion defensive coordinator Jason Winstead was proud of his defensive unit and deflected any credit to his young men.
“We have a lot of great players,” he said. “To be honest, we felt good about matching personnel with them and matching them athlete-for-athlete on the edge. That’s a 2,000-yard back they had in the backfield and they got out of their offense. A shutout is always the goal and what a time to get our first of the year.”
Twice at the end of the first half, the Mustangs had a chance to cut into the 21-0 lead and get back in the game. The Stallions’ defense held them to a missed 26-yard field goal on the first try and senior defensive back Nick McCloud made an interception in theend zone to end the half and the last serious threat.
“I think they underestimated the speed of our defense,” McCloud said. “Everybody was able to get to the ball and I think that was the key to the game.”
The Stallionsmake up for what they lack in size with their crazy team speed and then some. It’s usually not one guy getting to the ball carrier; it’s typically a swarm of Stallions.
“That’s our equalizer is our speed,” head coach Strait Herron said. “Most teams are bigger than we are.”
Back-to-back state titles is big and so is the shutout, but this one may have even more meaningful for sophomore defensive lineman Elijah Adams. His dad, Daniel Adams, played in the state championship for the Northwestern Trojans in 1989 and scored two touchdowns.
“Yes sir, in this same stadium,” Adams said. “That’s why they just call me ‘Daniel’s son.’ I just cherish this moment.”