Collegiate linebacker Myles Copeland can be a very disruptive force when left untouched.
Maize South found that out on Friday night during the Spartans' 44-14 romp at home. Outside of one big pass play, the Mavericks' veer offense produced nine yards on 21 first-half plays.
"I got blocked maybe one time tonight," Copeland said. "That means the d-line was doing their job. It's an awesome feeling to be able to roam like that, I love it. You don't have to rip through any blocks or anything."
The Spartans' defensive line didn't get much penetration, but it didn't need any against Maize South's rushing attack. Instead, they played assignment-sound, and held Maize South to negative rushing yards on 14 first-half carries.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Wichita Eagle
"We ran the veer defense to perfection," Collegiate lineman Trace Clark said. "We played our assignments and forced them to pitch the ball and they haven't done that much this season."
Maize South was out of its element the entire game. Without a rushing attack to keep the defense honest, Maize South's passing game struggled. The Mavericks had seven first-half drives, but only had one first down.
Collegiate's William Short stepped in front of a Drake Dukes pass in the first half and returned it 80 yards for a score. Then the Spartans forced a bad pitch from Dukes that resulted in a safety. At halftime, Collegiate's defense had scored more than its offense for a 16-0 lead.
"We were ecstatic about the way our defense played in the first half," Collegiate coach Bill Messamore said. "We actually felt like coming in it was a bad matchup for us. But our defensive line was awesome. They executed their assignments perfectly. If they didn't do that, we were going to be in trouble."
After a sloppy first half, Collegiate's offense was flawless after the break. It scored on all four of its possessions, including 11-play and 10-play drives to bury the Mavericks.
It had been a long week for Maize South (3-3), which coach Brent Pfeifer said was dealing with multiple illnesses and injuries.
"We were missing a lot of guys this week, but that's no excuse," Pfeifer said. "Collegiate has probably the fastest defense we've seen all year. They get downhill in a hurry. A lot faster than we've seen all year."
On Friday, it was even faster when Copeland and his fellow linebackers could roam free. They've been doing that a lot lately, as the first-string defense has allowed 21 points the last four games — all Collegiate (4-2) wins.
"I think the defense is starting to come together," Copeland said. "That's what we're going to need to do to win a championship."
Maize South (3-3) 0 0 7 7— 14 Collegiate (4-2) 14 2 7 21— 44
C—Short 32 pass from Phox (Short kick)
C—Short 80 interception return (Moxley kick)
C—Phox 2 run (Short kick)
MS—Dukes 1 run (Galliher kick)
C—Carder 23 run (Moxley kick)
C—Carder 46 run (Moxley kick)
C—Phox 1 run (Moxley kick)
MS—Mormando 15 run (Galliher kick)
Rushing—Maize South, Mormando 7-46, Dukes 11-19, Mahan 3-9, Orth 6-8, Rogers 3-3, Phillips 3-(-10). Collegiate, Carder 16-131, Phox 11-89, Bent 11-47, Williams 2-3, Moxley 3-(-5).
Passing—Maize South, Dukes 6-12-1-79, Phillips 1-1-0-23, Mormando 2-3-0-11. Collegiate, Phox 10-21-0-151.
Receiving—Maize South, Mahan 1-44, Phillips 4-30, Dukes 1-23, McDonald 2-12, Evans 1-4. Collegiate, Schooler 4-58, Clark 3-40, Short 1-32, Bent 1-12, Taylor 1-9.