By Rob Ludwig
Special to the Daily Sun
It’s a simple, practice-field abbreviation shouted by coaches and players alike. And if Navarro has hopes of winning the Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship, it’s got to be seared into the souls of the Bulldog players for the next two weeks.
DYJ. Do. Your. Job. Pretty easy to remember. Yet, it’s a little difficult to recall under the heat of what happens on the gridiron.
“Do your job; it’s as simple as that,” said Navarro freshman rush end Kyron Minter. “It’s not about worrying about somebody else’s job. It’s about your job and your job alone.”
Minter and fellow end Chip Jones have made doing their own job a constant mantra this season. The success has been just short of astounding.
A 5-foot-11, 190-pound freshman from Crowley, Minter thrust himself into a starting role early in the season and quickly made a distinctive mark. Minter leads the SWJCFC with 13 tackles for loss and has added six sacks, 12 quarterback hurries and 60 tackles.
Jones has been almost as effective on the other side of Navarro’s 3-4 defense with 55 tackles, including nine tackles for loss, three sacks and seven quarterback hurries.
Minter and Jones will have to be at their best on Saturday at 3 p.m. when Navarro visits Tyler in the first round of the SWJCFC playoffs.
Both players were key components of a defensive effort that held a powerful Apache team 23 points under its average in a 17-7 loss.
After allowing touchdowns on two of Tyler’s first three possessions, Navarro’s defense shut down the Apache running game, forcing seven three-and-outs and two turnovers on the next nine drives.
“We beat ourselves last time,” Minter said. “We made way too many mental busts. Against a team like Tyler, you cannot do that.”
Jones, a sophomore who spent much of his first year on special teams, has watched the current Navarro defense grow under Defensive Coordinator Scott Joseph into one of the nation’s best. The Bulldogs lead the SWJCFC in overall defense and are allowing fewer than 90 yards a game on the ground. That’s welcome news against the top rushing offense in the league from Tyler.
“We’ve become a more disciplined defense, a more disciplined team as a whole,” Jones said. “It’s about everyone doing their assignment without worrying whether the guy next to them is doing their assignment. If everybody does his assignment, we’re going to win.
“Once we became accustomed to what Tyler was doing in that first game and then adjusted, we were able to shut them down for the most part. We’ve got to do that from the start this week. Tyler has a really athletic quarterback and talented running backs. It’s going to be a challenge for our defense.”
That brings us back to those three letters.
“Doing your job is simple,” Jones said. “We’re drilled in what we’re supposed to do all week and then we do our job on Saturday. The difference this week is the stakes are higher. That’s what makes doing your job that much more exciting when you get to do it in a big game.”