Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

December 6, 2012

Angry Birds: Mildred’s front four jelling, excelling

Corsicana — MILDRED — Ultimately, the goal remains to win. But when you’re a defensive lineman, personal aspirations mean something.

“I want the tackle across me to hate me, or fear me at the end of the game,” junior defensive end Nic Stone said.

That’s a sentiment his teammates up front on Mildred’s defensive line can relate to. They all play with an edge, with a little bit of fury, an anger.

But it’s controlled, and it’s a big reason the Eagles (11-1) are playing for a berth in the Class 2A Division II state semifinals. They meet Nocona (12-0) in the Region II-2A DII finals at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Aledo.

That doesn’t mean the five guys who primarily play up front for Mildred’s front four are undisciplined brawlers. They’re actually witty, intelligent and quick to crack on one another. But on Friday nights, they come to play.

“Our front four, since about Week 5, they have been solid,” defensive coordinator Billy Dan Chambliess said.

“When you can control the trenches ...,” Chambliess trailed off, leaving the rest as a given.

You can be successful.

Never was that more evident than last week, in a 44-14 win over Clarksville in the regional round. Mildred posted a season-high five sacks. Stone, fellow junior end Joe Carrizales and starting defensive tackles Taylor Barlow and Thomas Finigmow — both seniors — each had one. Senior Noah Pennell, a starter on offense, spells Barlow and Finigmow at tackle on occasion.

“They’re doing everything we’ve asked them to do,” Chambliess said.

Barlow ranks third on the team with 56 tackles, while Finigmow is fourth (52), Stone fifth (43) and Carrizales seventh (38). Pennell is in the top 10 with 28. They’re not counted on to rack up tackles, but they have been active this year.

“Our defense is predicated on gap control,” head coach Patrick Harvell said. “Their job is to control the gaps. If they’re successful doing that, we’re usually successful that night.”

“They have set jobs,” Chambliess said. “They may not get credit for tackles, but they make the plays to set them up.”

At tackle, the Eagles are stout, and deep. Finigmow and Pennell are four-year starters, though Pennell misses playing more on defense. The other four defensive linemen go one-way. “I get in for two plays, then I’m out,” Pennell lamented. He understands the reasoning behind it, though.

Barlow has emerged as a playmaker. In addition to his sack last week, he had several bone-jarring hits in the backfield.

“The greatest feeling is getting by your guy,” Barlow said.

Finigmow, a reigning all-Golden Circle pick on the defensive line, has been rock solid. He had 10 tackles two weeks ago in the playoff opener.

The ends are more of a surprise. Carrizales wasn’t even expected to be on varsity this year. Stone didn’t start when the season began. The line didn’t come along until several weeks had passed.

“Actually, injuries decided that,” Chambliess said.

Quintin Weaver, an athletic, long and lean junior started the season at defensive end and was lost to a season-ending knee injury in the opener. Pennell missed all of the preseason and the first game with a leg injury.

“At the beginning of the season, it was a little confusing,” Pennell said. “We were not sure who was where. As the season as gone on, and especially in the playoffs, we’ve figured out our jobs.”

Midway through the year, coaches decided in order to keep linemen fresh, they had to platoon them. That thrust Stone and Carrizales into the spotlight.

“It’s our first year on varsity,” Stone said, “(and) I think I’ve had a good year.”

“I don’t think I do that well,” Carrizales said, drawing a collective laugh from the others, including one of his own. “But (coaches) tell me I do.”

Carrizales had four quarterback pressure against Clarksville, and caused an interception when he hit the throwing arm of quarterback TJ Tinnell.

“Once Joe gets mad, look out,” Barlow said. “Sometimes I’ll look at Joe, and it’s like, ‘You’ve got to get mad!’”

Now 13 games into the season, the front four — all five of them — have a real feel for what each other is doing. They also have a feel for when things are unraveling.

It’s a collective effort in all senses of the game.

“When we start messing up, we let each other know,” Finigmow said. “When we start slacking, we let each other know. We work as a group.”

They’ll need another strong effort if Mildred expects to make it to Cowboys Stadium and the state title game, something the Eagles missed out on by a touchdown last year. The table has been set.

“The last two weeks our front four has done a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage and making plays,” Harvell said.

Text Only
Sports
  • RON MORGAN.jpg Morgan; Remembering House and a better era

    The Cowboys started training camp the same week that Robert Newhouse died.
    In a way, that’s very unfortunate for Jerry. Thinking back to the “Human Bowling Ball” and the teams of that era might lead to the inevitable comparisons to today’s product on the field.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • weights.jpg GC Football: Blooming Grove's Williams expects to win

    His father was a head coach for years at Pecos High and his brother-in-law is the head football coach at DeSoto, but Lawrence Williams Jr., a man who loves coaching football, never had any ideas about being the head man.
    “I love coaching,'' said Williams as he sat at his desk in Blooming Grove, where he became the Lions' head coach this summer. “I just never thought about being the head coach and I never applied to be a head coach. With this job I can still coach.''

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kevin Reese mug.jpg Outdoors: Kevin Reese: Summer time means summer tracking

    With only two months before opening day of archery season you should already have your bow maintenance complete, be shooting daily and chomping at the bit for our favorite day to arrive!
    Let’s face it, few animals turn our rotors like whitetail deer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-State Baseball: Corsicana's Harlan and Wolver honored on TSWA/Collin Street Bakery 4A All-State Baseball team

    Corsicana junior Brady Harlan and sophomore Layton Wolver were honored on the Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery Class 4A All-State Baseball team that was announced Tuesday night.

    July 22, 2014

  • 7-23-14 Kayana.jpg Gymnastics: Kaylana Dickson celebrates national title with fans and her uncle David Hawthorne

    Kaylana Dickson got the name Bebop on her way to winning a national title in gymnastics this summer, and boy did it catch fire.
    Kaylana, a Corsicana native, picked up fans from all over the country and many bought Bebop T-shirts to help pay her expenses to Spokane, Wa., where she won the 8-and-under title in the double-mini trampoline event and finished third in floor exercise.
    More than 100 of her friends, family members and fans showed up at the Corsicana YMCA on Saturday to celebrate the national title and be on hand for a drawing for an autographed New Orleans Saints football jersey from David Hawthorne, a star defensive lineman for the Saints and Kaylana's uncle

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-State Baseball: TSWA/Collin Street Bakery All-State 3A baseball team is announced

    The Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery Class 3A All-State Baseball Team was announced Tuesday.

     

    July 22, 2014

  • UIL Football: State championships to be held at AT&T Stadium

    The 2014 University Interscholastic League Football State Championship games will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington the League announced Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • All-State Baseball: Sunnyvale's Wilcox tops TSWA/Collin Street Bakery Class 2A team

    Sunnyvale's Jake Wilcox is player of the year on the Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery Class 2A All-State Baseball Team

    July 22, 2014

  • GC Baseball: Kerens' Anderson makes TSWA/Collin Street Bakery all-state team at four positions

    Call it the rarest of rares, at least as far as all-state teams go. Brett Anderson of Kerens shows up on the Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery all-state team not one, not two, not three, but four times. Dawson's Lane Dotson was a second-team outfielder, and the Bulldogs' Trent Underwood made the third-team as a pitcher, and also garnered an honorable mention nod at first base. Kerens outfielder Brent Warren was also an honorable mention pick.

    July 21, 2014

  • RON MORGAN.jpg Morgan: All-star games and all-star shame

    If there is anything more useless than a political promise, it’s an all-star game. I don’t care what sport at what level. Any all-star game is simply an exhibition, a reward for being among the best (maybe). Any one of them is about as relevant as the IRS’s “dog ate my homework” excuse for losing emails.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo