Havelock takes pride in shutouts, takeaways

HAVELOCK | Jeffrey Harris wants opponents to think twice about challenging Havelock’s defense.

He wants them to know that the Rams enjoy knocking someone to the ground.

“They know we are going to get after the ball. Everybody loves to hit on defense. We are eager and hungry,” said Harris, Havelock’s senior safety.

The Rams began their season with a 38-0 win over Washington this past Saturday.

The defense recovered two fumbles, linebacker Tyiyon Johnson blocked a punt and it only allowed Washington to get one first down without the benefit of a penalty.

“It fires us up when our players are making big hits. We go hard every single play and make the hits,” Johnson said.

The Rams spend extra time each practice working on forcing turnovers.

They took the ball away 21 times last season.

“Forcing turnovers is just like an offensive possession. We do a turnover circuit every day in practice,” said Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant. “We do a scoop and score, strip and interception. We do those drills every day so our guys pride themselves on getting the ball if it’s on the ground.”

Havelock’s defense expects shutouts. Anything less is unacceptable.

The Rams yielded 15.4 points per game last season with two shutouts.

But the game that serves as motivation is that 42-35 defeat at home against Eden Morehead in the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs.

“I think losing 42-35 in the second round last year, giving up 42 points to a second-round opponent when we hadn’t lost to a second-round opponent in seven years,” Bryant said. “I think that motivates them every day.”

Linebackers Johnson, Kendall Frazier, Soloman Beligotti and Cameron Hutchinson patrol the middle of the field, while Destin Flloyd, Brandon Boyd and Chris Mazique serve up front on Havelock’s 3-4 defense.

Harris, Dominique Madden, Montrece Gatling and Quinzel Lockhart spark the secondary.

“We have 11 guys that can run. We have 11 guys that can get to the football,” Bryant said. “Our defensive staff does a great job preparing them each week. Every game we shut teams out, we have a chance to win those games.

“Our defense, every time we play on Friday night, we are expecting a shutout. That’s what we’re going for. If the other team can’t score, they can’t win.”

The Rams will attempt to improve to 2-0 as they play host to New Bern at 7 p.m. on Friday. They beat New Bern, 41-6, last season in New Bern.

Bryant, every day in practice, is well aware of what opposing offenses are preparing to line up against.

“I hope they see people getting the snot knocked out of them and are afraid to go over the middle and afraid to carry the ball up the middle because we have guys that are flying around hitting people,” Bryant said.

 

Adam Thompson is the sports editor at the Sun Journal. He can be contacted at 252-635-5669. Follow Adam on Twitter @A_ThompsonNBSJ