NICKELSVILLE — Going into Friday night’s non-district game against Twin Springs, J.I. Burton’s defense had been giving up yards in bunches.
A prolific offense helped the Raiders stave off defeat through their first five games, but Burton coach Jimbo Adams was looking for answers with Friday’s contest looming.
What Adams got was some helpful advice from an old adversary, and it led to a much-improved performance from Burton’s defense — the Raiders forced five turnovers and held the Titans to 226 yards of total offense in a resounding 47-12 victory.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit and I took some advice from Phil Robbins,” Adams said. “We kind of subtracted some things out and it speeded us up a little bit.
“We didn’t change anybody, we just moved some kids around and I think we played a little faster tonight.”
As it turned out, Adams needed the stout effort he got from his defense after Burton’s offense got off to an uncharacteristically slow start.
Twin Springs coach Mike Castle came up with a brilliant game plan designed to slow Burton’s vaunted rushing attack, and it worked to perfection in the early going.
“They geared the defense to stop (Riley) Maggard on the sweep and stop (Malik) Miles on the trap,” Adams said. “That gave us (Colby) Dean and (Tanner) Crowder, and it took us a minute there to figure out what they were doing.”
Meanwhile, the Titans engineered an efficient scoring drive in the second quarter to get within a touchdown of the Raiders. The 11-play, 57-yard drive ended with an 11-yard TD pass from Richie Morefield to Jarod Finch midway through the second period to make the score 13-6.
But Burton was able to adjust to Castle’s defense as the first half wore on. Once Dean and Crowder came through with some clutch plays, it reopened Burton’s entire playbook.
“When they started having to defend the entire field, it finally opened things back up,” Adams said.
The Raiders scored 34 unanswered points, rolling up 450 yards of total offense to put the game well out of reach midway through the third quarter.
The defense made two huge plays during the third period to help hasten Twin Springs’ demise — the Raiders (6-0) recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass, and both turnovers led to offensive touchdowns.
Crowder finished with 142 yards passing, going 7-for-12 through the air with three TD throws. Dean ended up rushing for 133 yards on three carries and a touchdown.
Maggard was Crowder’s primary target, catching four passes for 70 yards, with two of those receptions going for touchdowns.
The game may have spiraled out of the Titans’ control, but Castle also saw some positive things to build on as Twin Springs (3-3) tries to return to the playoffs.
“We wanted to slow it down and keep the ball away from them,” Castle said. “It seems like we’d get something going and we’d have a bad play, lose yards or get a penalty.
“Against a good team like that, you can’t have penalties or bad plays. The speed alone just makes it hard for you.”comments powered by Disqus