The defense that has allowed only three rushing touchdowns in Tolar’s four football victories this season (entering last night) looks even saltier when the Rattlers’ individual games are broken down.
The second half, in particular, is when the Rattlers have been at their best where it counts the most – scoring defense. In their past three games going into last night’s game against Scurry-Rosser – all victories – the Rattlers have not allowed any points in the fourth quarter.
In the past two, Tolar’s defense held Dallas Life and Millsap scoreless after the first.
In their first five games, the Rattlers outscored opponents 93-32 after halftime – allowing an average of just 6.4 points in the second half. Overall, Tolar has given up 14.4 points per contest while scoring at a 38.6-point clip.
“After the kids get their adjustments (at halftime), they’re doing a great job with it,” Franklin said of defensive coordinator Gregg Lee’s crew. “I think we can be as good or better (defensively) than we were last year.”
Franklin noted that the Indians were about to find out exactly how good their defense really is, against the other two best teams in the District 6-2A alignment. The Rattlers played host to Scurry-Rosser (5-0. 2-0) last night, and will go on the road to face Mildred (4-1, 2-0) Oct. 18.
Junior linebackers Gordon Lewis and Hunter Ryan lead Tolar in tackles, with 55 and 44 respectively. Lewis has a team-leading six stops behind the line and three quarterback sacks. Senior defensive tackle Kaleb Crawford has five tackles for a loss.
“Lewis played real well last year on the JV,” Franklin said, noting that he gets more chances at sacks because he blitzes more often. “We stunt him more. That’s something he does well. (Hunter) is picking up from where he left off last year (on the varsity).”
Franklin said the defense is designed for the linebackers to have the most opportunities to make stops.
“The linebackers are doing a great job,” Franklin said, noting that if the linemen aren’t doing their job, “the linebackers can’t do theirs.”
Franklin also praised the performance level of Crawford along with noseguard Connor Huckabee, linemen Jay Kiehl and Aaron Platt and linebacker Tyler Anderson.
With more and more of Tolar’s injured players returning to full speed, Franklin is hoping to see improvement in one area on defense that hasn’t been quite as impressive – preventing opponents from converting on third-down situations.
“We haven’t done that as well as we would like,” Franklin said.
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