Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

August 15, 2013

GC FOOTBALL TOUR: Frost defense heats up

Todd Wills
Daily Sun

Frost —  

 Memories of Frost’s near comeback victory over Tenaha in the regional finals last year tend to focus on an offense that executed to near perfection in the second half, until the last play of the game.

The Polar Bears’ defense gets lost, even though Tenaha scored only one touchdown after halftime.

Frost’s defense will get noticed in 2013. The Polar Bears’ defense will be the team’s calling card with seven starters back, including leading tacklers Colton Clayton and Woody Woods, who both play linebacker.

“Honestly our defense is dominant this season,” Woods said. “We get around the ball. We swarm the ball.”

That’s what the Polar Bears did in that gallant effort against Tenaha, and seniors such as Woods, Clayton and Robert Worley plan on that carrying over. Frost trailed 20-0 in the first half of the game with Tenaha’s offense making big plays in the passing game.

But Frost stayed in the game mentally because the Polar Bears kept hitting on defense, led by Woods, who refused to back down. His teammates followed. Frost eventually took a 30-26 lead before Tenaha responded to take a 34-30 advantage. The Polar Bears’ season ended on the Tigers 2-yard line when Frost fumbled on the last play of the game.

Yes, the loss still hurts. But it taught the Bears a valuable lesson.

“We don’t every quit,” Woods said. “It’s going to make you better. Losing definitely makes you want to win. We have that game on our mind every day we go out to the practice field. It’s a heartbreaker.”

That’s where defense comes in. The Bears want to set the tone on defense,” creating chaos,” as Clayton put it. Both Clayton and Woods play on offense, but defense is their real love. Clayton led Frost with 88 tackles. Woods had 82.

They expect with experience to be improved on that side of the ball.

“We will definitely be better,” Clayton said. “The experience, swarming to the ball. It’s an extra push for us to be a championship defense.”

The Polar Bears’ goal is to hold opponents to 14 points or less per game.” If you can do that, you can control the ball game,” Woods said.

That’s what Frost did last year in district play. The Polar Bears lost to Hubbard 44-27 in district play — giving up 32 points in the second half — and played near perfect defense against the other three district opponents.

Dawson’s only touchdown came on a kick return. Wortham scored on its first drive and that was it. Meridian scored once, too.

Was Frost’s defense underrated last season?

“A lot of times it was,” Frost coach Eric Blenden said.”We gave up two touchdowns in district last season minus the Hubbard game. Scoring 49 points a game is great, but it does no good if you’re losing 51-49. And a lot of teams these days try to win that way.”

Blenden looks to Woods and Clayton to set the example on defense. They are his best tacklers, he said. That has come from hard work.

“We always work on tackling every practice,” Clayton said. “Woody and I work on setting the tempo.”

The Polar Bears do three or four tackling drills a practice, Woods said.

“We always want to secure the tackle first,” Woods said. ”Then we go for the ball and get nasty.”

Now that Danial Steels has taken his 1,800 rushing yards to college, and quarterback Jacob Stroder is gone, the Bears figure to take time getting into the flow on offense.

That’s where the defense comes in.

“Our offense isn’t as good,” Woods said. “It’s still good. But we have to come out in our first scrimmage and dominate games on defense.”