Williamston’s defense goes all in

Published 3:27 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — It’s a menacing, aggressive and at times a very risky gamble, but so far Williamston’s blitzing style of defense has come up aces for the Tigers as they have sacked each of their four playoff opponents to reach the NCHSAA 1-A state championship game.
The all or nothing type philosophy is the concoction of fourth-year defensive coordinator Damon Hayes, who like a champion poker player, would rather gamble with all his chips in the pot as opposed to getting his purse eaten away by the blinds.
Consider the Tigers all in.
Williamston head coach Asim McGill praised Hayes’ work with the defense, and said that his personality is a big asset.
Williamston, which runs a 4-3 defense, turns up the pressure on opponents with its pair of twin senior linebackers DeBrian and DeBriant Everett, or simply referred to around Williamston as the twins.
So far this season it has been a twin-killing on opposing QBs, as the Everett brothers have routinely blown up plays, and despite their diminutive stature (roughly 5’7”), play with the aggression and swagger of Ray Lewis.
The twins leadership and courage has rubbed off on their teammates, and has helped transform the Tigers’ defense into one of the most feared units in the state.
Consistent pressure can be the ultimate equalizer. The Tigers’ roster doesn’t feature a lot of hulking athletes, but they do posses a lot of agile, gifted ones.
Absorbing the blocks up front for the linebackers are defensive linemen Walt Ange (DE), Rakeem Speller (DE), Michael Lawrence (DT) and fellow defensive tackle Derek Everett.
While Derek has no relationship to the twins, he gets after the QB with the same passion, and was a WDN first-team all-area defensive lineman last season.
The strength of the defense unit is at linebacker, where playing along side the twins, is outside linebacker Emery Griggs.
Griggs is a speedy, crafty senior who has great hands and a good nose for the ball.
Blitzing six to eight guys at once not only puts pressure on the other team’s QB, but also on the Williamston secondary.
So far, the unit has proved it can handle it.
Cornerbacks Kareem Bell and Marquise Staton, along with safeties Kenny Brown and Cody Speller have done a nice job keeping plays in front of them all season.
Hayes said in order for his defense to be fully effective, each unit has to work hand-and-hand.
Aside from racking up sacks and tackles for a loss, Williamston’s blitzing style has a greater purpose, and that’s to change the game plan of its opponent.
McGill and the rest of the Tigers (10-5) hope that is the case on Saturday, when they battle Mount Airy (15-0) at 3:30 p.m. for the state title at Carter-Finley Stadium.