A peak at Plymouth’s purple people eaters
By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
PLYMOUTH — A high powered offense may get a team into the playoffs, but what keeps that team playing the next week is defense. So when you find out that Plymouth has held its opponents to a combined six points in the postseason, it’s no surprise that the Vikings are playing for a state championship this Saturday against North Duplin.
Many fans want to know what the secret is, what is the master scheme is that keeps opposing offense going three and out and opposing players shaking their heads as they walk back to the sideline?
Well, the secret is that their is no secret, the Vikings’ defense is just that good.
While Plymouth defensive coordinators Terry Perry and Corey Crossen have done an excellent job with their play calling, there is no gimmicks or trickery to the Vikings’ defense, just solid execution by their players.
Gimmick defenses may work on occasion, but they do not account for the fact that in 15 games Plymouth has let up a mere 59 points for an outstanding 3.9 points per game average.
The Vikings’ D is no doubt aided by its explosive offense, which often puts teams so far behind that they have to deviate from their standard play calling. However, that does not explain how the Vikings have pitched a shutout in over half their games.
So what is the explanation? Believe or not the biggest factor in the team’s success are the guys rarely make tackles.
So far Plymouth linemen Reginald James, William Hunt, Ethan Davis and Michael Bell have done just that. They are big enough and quick enough to command attention from opposing lineman, freeing up the Vikings’ linebackers to go out and make big plays.
Rasheen Whitley, who as a member of the offensive line has to block James and his crew in practice, said that what makes his counter parts so successful is their aggressiveness.
The relentless work of the line allows for the athleticism of the Vikings’ linebackers to take over. Lynell (Chuck) Woods heads up a crew of speedy, instinctive linebackers who can shutdown an offense as faster than you can say hut.
The rest of the linebacking core consists of Dasheen Perry, Andre Mitchell, Patrick Phelps and Daniel Downing, and James said every one of them cam make plays.
Perry, who coaches the Vikings defensive lineman and linebackers, said that the play of Woods is instrumental in the Vikings’ success.
At the start of the season the Vikings’ coaching staff expected big things from they players up front, but the play of the secondary has been a big surprise.
Spear heading Plymouth’s secondary is senior ball hawk Angelo Sharpless.
The Vikings’ hope Sharpless and the rest of the defense can pad their stats this Saturday when they play North Duplin at 11 a.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium.