Brahmas' versatile defense looks to slow down Yoemen

Dec. 6, 2012 at 6:06 a.m.

Hallettsville's defense, despite allowing 46 points last week, had several key plays that lifted it over Hempstead.

Hallettsville's defense, despite allowing 46 points last week, had several key plays that lifted it over Hempstead.

HALLETTSVILLE - December football means a lot of things for the residents of the seat of Lavaca County..

However, an explanation for the Brahmas season extending to this point may be its defense.

"The biggest thing is the core they started with," said Hallettsville football coach Tommy Psencik. Troy (Murphy), Quinton (Wright) and Teidrick (Smith) were all sophomore starters. They have three years experience and they lived in the weight room and preached the deal. A lot of the kids followed them."

The Brahmas used a Tyler Steffek sack and a last-minute stand to eliminate 2011 state finalists Hempstead last week. Hallettsville will face another stern test in 12-0 Cameron Yoe this week in the Class 2A, Division I quarterfinals.

Through 12 games the undefeated Brahmas have forced 25 turnovers and allowed on average 253.8 yards per game. Hallettsville has not allowed 300 offensive yards since a 47-34 win over Rice Consolidated on Oct. 20.

"All 11 (of us) is the strength of this defense," said Wright, a senior defensive tackle. "If one person messes up it messes up the whole defense. Once we are playing together, no one can stop our defense. It's all 11 men doing their job."

There haven't been too many blown assignments this year. The players attribute that to the coaching staff pushing them to be successful, as well as making adjustments.

At times, the Brahmas haven't waited until halftime or a change of possession to tweak things. Players will discuss what they are seeing with defensive coordinator Jon Lamson, or someone else on staff, and the coaches will adjust accordingly.

During Wednesday's practice one coach asked whether the Brahmas were comfortable with a certain alignment. Though the answer was yes, there was a distinct sense that Hallettsville works on things until all 11 are on the same page.

"I don't think there is anyone on our defense who is better than anyone," said junior linebacker Justin Reeves. "We are all equal. We stay together and all of our minds are on one thing. That's what takes our defense to the next level."

Hempstead scored 46 points Friday night against the Brahmas defense, but the Bobcats produced only 267 offensive yards.

The Yoemen will provide a different challenge. Wright, and others, said their goal will be to make quarterback Jason Kopriva uncomfortable and disrupt his timing.

"We're excited about it," said senior cornerback Reagan McAda about it. "We've seen Edna and Hempstead and they throw a lot so we are prepared for it."

Kopriva is responsible for 40 touchdowns - 31 passing, nine rushing - and completes 62 percent of his passes. Nine different Cameron Yoe receivers have caught touchdowns, including junior Colton Shuffield and Zach Felts who have 12 and nine touchdowns respectively.

"We know they are a good team at throwing the ball," Wright said. "We are good at stopping the run. We're going to see this week if we can stop the pass. I'm very (confident) we will be able to stop the pass. I think we'll be able to win this game."

Hallettsville will make its first quarterfinal appearance in eight years. McAda said a pair of close encounters with Hempstead last month gives this year's Brahmas the confidence to remain calm should Friday's game come down to the wire.

"We play with a lot of heart. That's all we do," Wright said. "We fly to the ball. We might not be the fastest on the field, but we put guys in the right place to make things happen."



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