By Matt Nestor
After giving up yards and points by the bunches the last two weeks, the Guilford Vikings (3-1) kept hearing they couldn’t play defense.
Everywhere they turned, someone was telling them they couldn’t stop anyone. And traveling to play the Belvidere Bucs and their high-powered offense was not going to help matters.
But the defense rose to the occasion, causing four turnovers and holding Belvidere (1-3) to 6 points and 154 total yards in a 14-6 victory.
“We were just trying to prove a point,” senior defensive back D.Q. Hill said after intercepting two passes. “All week, we heard everyone saying our defense wasn’t that good, so we just wanted to prove a point on defense. And I think tonight we proved it.”
For much of the first half, the Bucs were proving the same point.
The Guilford offense only managed 65 yards in the first half. Quarterback Cody Bell was only 1-3 passing with an interception.
And after the Bucs scored on a 1-yard touchdown on a Marcus Gooden run late in the second quarter, they went into halftime with a 6-0 lead.
“In the first half, things weren’t going our way,” Bell said. “We came out looking pretty sloppy. Second half, we sat our guys down, our offensive coordinator (Jim) Torrisi came in and had a few choice words. We made a couple of changes, came out in the second half and we played football.”
Bell played a big part in that. On a fourth-and-3 from the Belvidere 33, Bell ran for 31 yards down to the 2 and scored from a yard out two plays later.
On the next drive, Bell ripped off another 35 yards on one play, on his way to 102 rushing yards. Dontrel Chance capped off the drive with an 8-yard touchdown.
Chance finished the game with 62 rushing yards. Gooden led the Bucs with 95 yards of total offense.
“We thought we could come out here and scheme them a little bit and spread them out,” Guilford coach Mel Gilfillan said after the game. “It just wasn’t working. We went to the locker room and decided to go back to old school, just pounding the ball inside. They couldn’t stop it, and that was a big deal.”
In other NIC-10 action:
→ Belvidere North (1-3) avoided potential disaster, scoring two late touchdowns to come back and win another shootout, this time topping Freeport (2-2) by a score of 46-42. Austin Smaha continued to dominate, rushing for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Tony Tindle added 142 rushing yards and 147 passing for the Blue Thunder. Freeport quarterback Alex Bennett threw for 314 yards and five touchdowns in the loss.
→ East (0-4) gave the Boylan Titans an early scare, tying the game at 14 after a 23-yard touchdown run by Jordan Tassoni. Then, the Titans (4-0) ran off 38 straight points on their way to a 64-20 win over the E-Rabs. Chris Miller scored two more touchdowns. Tyreis Thomas ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Frank Cimino went over 100 yards running and throwing.
→ Hononegah (4-0) had seven players run for at least 20 yards, led by Bryan Rothmaler’s 87 yards, on their way to a 31-0 win over Jefferson (2-2). Royce Dixon led the J-Hawks with 56 yards.
→ Harlem (3-1) got two touchdown passes from backup quarterback Cody DiGiovanni, and Keith Purifoy scored from 56 yards out as Harlem shut out Auburn (0-4) by a final score of 42-0
From the Sept. 22-28, 2010 issue