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Football 2012: Monarch defense looks to give up big plays

Published on -8/30/2012, 10:50 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

The Thomas More Prep-Marian football team chose "Raising Expectations" for its 2012 motto.

For the Monarchs' defense, it's fitting, because it's something the defense has attempted to do each year.

From 2006 to 2009, TMP allowed 39.3 points per game, and when first-year head coach John Montgomery took over as defensive coordinator in 2010, he attempted to patch the holes in the defense.

In the last two years, the points per game have dropped incrementally, permitting 34.3 points per game in 2010 and 29.1 points per game in 2011.

Now the head coach, Montgomery said it's his goal to lower that even more. He said the key is reducing big plays.

"(Last season), we would string together two or three good plays in a row and put the offense in a position where they are backed up, and then all of a sudden give up big plays," Montgomery said. "For us to move forward, there has to be an elimination of the big plays."

Montgomery said the defense will stick with its 4-3 scheme, with the exception of a few changes "here and there."

He said he's emphasized more of a team mentality with the defense this season.

"We have to play within the scheme itself defensively," Montgomery said. "Sometimes we get players trying to do more than they are positioned to do. We need guys to do their 1/11th. Do your job and trust that the guy next to you is going to to do his job. If we can do that, we'll see continued improvement defensively."

The Monarchs return all-Mid-Central Activities Association honorable mention recipient Anthony Walters.

Walters and sophomore Cameron Fouts will anchor the defensive line at the tackle positions.

Walters said the team's taken the "Raising Expectations" motto to heart.

"This year, we are wanting to improve on everything," Walters said. "Not just from last year's record but also some of the statistics. We want to lower some of the points we allowed as a defense and increase our run production from last year."

Senior Luke Brull is the Monarchs' lone returning linebacker, but Montgomery said he's confident juniors Michael Schulte and Jared Gabel will step up.

"They've been waiting their turn, and they are finally getting their opportunity," Montgomery said. "I think they are hungry."

Senior Shane Zimmerman returns as a defensive back, but the secondary will feature several new faces.

Montgomery said he expects the junior and senior classes to step up and fill the holes left by 2011's strong senior class.

"They've been through the fire of being the scout team and having to help prep the offense and defense each day," Montgomery said. "They've taken their licks on special teams and getting in on offense and defense at various points of the game."

Montgomery said the Monarchs not only have raised expectations on the field, they also raised expectations in the weight room.

"We had 17 kids who had 100-percent attendance to the weight room this summer," Montgomery said. "We had another 26 kids who missed four or less weight sessions this summer."

Now, it's just a matter of meeting their elevated expectations.

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