OK, Blitz was skeptical.
Homestead’s defense entering Friday’s showdown at Bishop Dwenger having allowed just 12 total points the entire season.
But the competition? Left a bit to be desired. And Blitz has gotten excited about Homestead defenses before, only to learn it was merely a mirage with inflated numbers against inferior teams (see certain years in the old NHC).
Yet Blitz walked away from Homestead’s 17-15 victory over the Saints at Shields Field impressed by a defensive unit that came a few minutes short of holding its fourth-straight opponent to single-digits points, something that hasn’t happened since 2002.
The poster boy for the Spartans’ performance on Friday was senior linebacker Cam Rogers. Limited in the first three weeks of the season with a hand injury, Rogers was all over the field against the Saints, hand wrapped heavily and all, blowing up inside run plays, sealing the edge on the outside, tracking down ball carriers downfield, even dropping in coverage and notching a few pass breakups.
Rogers plays the game one short step away from over the line, he is that intense. But that’s what makes him such a fierce football player.
And Rogers had plenty of help on Friday. With Bishop Dwenger (3-1) looking to tie the game or go ahead just before halftime and Homestead up 14-8, it was Jake Archbold who picked off a Brenden Lytle pass in the end zone. That empty drive would prove pivotal later in the game.
An army of defensive linemen not only held its own against the vaunted Saints defensive front, but dished out some punishment and established ownership of the line of scrimmage. Bishop Dwenger was held to just 98 rushing yards on 33 attempts, good for only 2.9 yards per rush.
The player impacts continue. Cole Etchison and Luke Palmer affecting plays at the middle level of the defense. Ryan Burton and Donnovan Leonard making the night difficult for Dwenger receivers.
Homestead (4-0) has been known over the years as a team led by an offense that relied on finesse and timing to put up big points. But this Spartans team feels different. It feels like a complete squad.
Quarterback Luke Goode and running back Braeden Hardwick had good games in Friday’s win, and they will receive plenty of attention now and in the future as the Spartans continue to have success.
But this team’s goals will be achieved only if the defense continues to assert its will on opponents. It did so at Shields Field against a team that rarely allows teams to do that.
Blitz is skeptical no more. Homestead is for real.
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH.