Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

November 27, 2012

Polar Bears’ defense has 18 INTs, keying historic playoff run

FROST —   — Frost outside linebacker Danial Steels stopped a promising Chilton drive last Friday with a leaping interception late in the first half of the Polar Bears’ 16-12 playoff win.

A defense that gets turnovers, especially interceptions, has been one of the overwhelming themes of Frost’s historic season.

Frost has 18 interceptions to go with 12 fumbles recoveries. That’s 30 takeaways. And with the Polar Bears’ offense looking at just 14 turnovers in 12 games, that’s a plus-16 in turnover ratio.

Need any other explanation for Frost’s second deepest playoff venture in school history?

“If you see the ball in the air, you better go get it,” said Polar Bears safety Jake Stroder, who has a team-leading six interceptions.

Frost will try to match the 1989 team — which went four rounds deep in the playoffs — when the Polar Bears (11-1) face Mount Enterprise (9-3) in a Region III-1A DII Regional at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Teague Lion Stadium.

Frost turns around games with interceptions.

Look at Steels, who produced the only turnover in the Chilton game. Pirates quarterback Javarius Young launched a pass that Steels leaped up and snagged inside the Frost 10-yard line in the final minute of the first half. The underdog Bears ran out the clock and led 8-6 at halftime.

“We just play hard,” said Steels, who has five interceptions. “We do what we’re put in position to do.”

Frost’s schedule has included teams that throw it on average 17 times per game. So it’s given the Polar Bears an opportunity to makes plays on the ball, which they have.

“We finally have some athletes back there,” Frost coach Eric Blenden said. “A lot of people used to be able to throw it up and get it over the top of us. We’re able to go get them, and our defensive front gets pressure.”

Frost’s defense had an overall dominant game against Chilton. The Polar Bears allowed 184 yards, 136 of that to Young on the ground. But the speedy Chilton quarterback never broke off a long run for a score.

Frost came into the game allowing 236.5 yards per game. The Polar Bears allowed two touchdowns and gave up 50 yards less than their season average to one of the most dynamic offenses they’ve seen all season.

How did it happen? It started with Maliko Bruce, their nose guard who got penetration most of the night, and when he wasn’t, he was forcing Chilton to double team him.

That freed up linebackers Woody Woods and Andrew Jackson to make plays, not to mention Steels and just about everyone else on the Frost defense.

“It was a great defensive effort,” Blenden said.

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