Stingy P-W defense looking to go another notch

Stingy P-W defense looking to go another notch


Stingy P-W defense looking to go another notch


Pewamo-Westphalia's Colin Smith, bottom, brings down Laingsburg's Kevin Koenig Friday, Oct. 9, {year}, in Laingsburg, Mich. Pewamo-Westphalia won 50-7.

Pewamo-Westphalia’s Colin Smith, bottom, brings down Laingsburg’s Kevin Koenig Friday, Oct. 9, {year}, in Laingsburg, Mich. Pewamo-Westphalia won 50-7.

WESTPHALIA – With an offense that has scored 30-plus points in 11 of its 12 games this season, Matt Fox understands why the Pewamo-Westphalia defense has been slept on.

But the senior defensive lineman doesn’t agree with it.

The Pirates’ defense more than complemented its productive offense during the regular season – only giving up 7.3 points per game – and put together one of the best postseason performances in program history in last week’s 40-3 regional victory over Cassopolis.

And on Saturday, the stingy defense has a chance to put those unfamiliar on notice in a state semifinal against defending champion and No. 6-ranked Detroit Loyola.

“Our defense, people don’t focus on it. It’s overlooked,” Fox said. “The coaches always talk about having a good, strong defense and not giving up many points. We really focus on that.

“Our goal is to always shut people out. Whenever they score, we have to make adjustments and figure out what’s going on.”

Coach Jeremy Miller has had quality defenses in his three years in charge – his 2013 defense recorded three regular-season shutouts — but he said this year’s group has distinguished itself.

P-W, Lansing Catholic get rematches in semifinals

“I think it’s probably the most athletic defense we’ve ever had in terms of team speed,” said Miller, who is 32-5 as the Pirates’ coach. “I think statistically, too, you’d have to say this is the best defense.

“We have team speed all over the place. I give these kids a lot of credit because when we put in a game plan they listen and pay attention and they’re able to implement it well. We have breakdowns like everyone else, but there are fewer than years past.”

The No. 4-ranked Pirates (12-0) can’t afford any breakdowns against a Loyola offense that’s been nothing but explosive during its postseason run. Detroit Loyola (10-2) is averaging 58 points heading into Saturday’s contest and is coming off a 50-0 victory over Dansville.

The two teams have a history, as the Bulldogs defeated Pewamo-Westphalia in the state semifinals last year. The Pirates’ defense allowed a season-high 41 points to Loyola in the meeting, and, this year, senior linebacker Nathan Jandernoa believes his group is more equipped to handle the speed of the Bulldogs.

“After playing them last year, I think we’re a little more confident coming into it this year,” Jandernoa said. “We’ve seen them before, seen what they do.

“Their line is obviously really good. We have to be able to control the ends.”

Contact James L. Edwards III at Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.


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