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Viper Times

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Viper Times

Vipers Defense Seals The Deal in The Second Half

Bryson Taylor
Head Coach Dustin Johnson observes as his defense takes on Barry Goldwater

In a remarkable showcase of defensive presence, the Verrado Vipers’ defense delivered a beatdown of performance in the 3rd quarter, stifling the Goldwater Bulldogs and leading their team to a well-deserved victory.

Led by standout player Ryan Willey, the Vipers’ defensive unit showed amazing hustle and adaptability, leaving the Bulldogs struggling to make any headway.

The quarter got off to a challenging start for the Vipers as they suffered a setback with the absence of Max Douglas, a key player on the defensive line.

Head coach Dustin Johnson claims, “It’s never easy to watch a starter be hurt, and especially a 3-year starter”

However, this did not deter the Vipers’ defense, who quickly established their dominance on the field.

“Coach Mager and the defensive staff (Willey, Nikias, Salem, Duplain, Horton) had a great plan in place. We always have things to tighten up to get prepared for region play so it was a great step in the right direction.”

— Head Coach Dustin Johnson

Ryan Willey started it off with an electrifying 52-yard fumble return that not only injected energy into the team, but also set the tone for the rest of the quarter.

Coach Johnson and the team were more than happy to see what Ryan did, with Coach Johnson adding “Ryan’s fumble return turned the tide completely to us being in charge. Ryan is another 3-year starter that doesn’t get many chances to get a TD, so to watch that happen was special”

As the quarter progressed, the Vipers’ defense displayed an impressive ability to read and anticipate the Bulldogs’ plays. Their familiarity with the Bulldogs’ offensive strategies allowed them to

Vipers take to the field for the start of the game on a beautiful Arizona night (Bryson Taylor)

shut down repeated plays effectively, frustrating their opponents’ attempts to gain momentum. The defensive unit’s coordinated efforts and disciplined approach were evident as they consistently destroyed the Bulldogs’ offensive schemes.

Moving into the fourth quarter, the Vipers’ defense continued to excel, adapting to various offensive approaches by the Bulldogs.

Although the Bulldogs managed to bring in some passing yards, the Vipers’ defense remained composed and persistent in their pursuit of victory. Ryan Wiley’s standout performance continued, as he recorded multiple sacks throughout the game, further solidifying the Vipers’ control over the game.

Coach Mager, the head defensive coordinator who was impressed by his players’ execution, highlighted the repetitive nature of the Bulldogs’ offensive strategy.

He remarked, “It’s the same thing every time, they aren’t passing the dang thing.” This astute recognition of the Bulldogs’ tendencies allowed the Vipers’ defense to excel in their assignments and maintain their defensive stronghold.

Goldwater’s lone success came when they capitalized on a first down resulting from a controversial call, leading to a rushing touchdown. The Viper student section student section verbally expressed their frustration with the officiating of the game as the Vipers had 3 touchdowns called back, as well.

Vipers defense anticipating the snap, ready to do whatever they can to win (Bryson Taylor)

However, the Vipers’ defense swiftly responded, blocking the ensuing field goal attempt.

This sequence of events prompted Coach Mager to comment, “If you wanna talk to someone after the game, I’d talk to the players. I just tell them what to do, they’re able to get it done.”

In post-game interviews, the Vipers’ defensive players returned the credit to the coordinator, attributing their success to their collective effort and execution on the field.

When asked what he believes can go better next game, star defensive lineman Ryan Willey says “Just controlling what we can, limiting penalties for sure, but with the penalties, we need to just move on and go to the next play.”

Their ability to translate the guidance and strategies provided by the coaching staff into on-field success was key to their impressive performance.

Coach Johnson agrees, saying “Coach Mager and the defensive staff (Willey, Nikias, Salem, Duplain, Horton) had a great plan in place. We always have things to tighten up to get prepared for region play so it was a great step in the right direction.”

While the defense clearly deserves their share of credit, it is also incredibly important to highlight the incredible game on the offensive side of the ball as well, as only one touchdown in the blowout victory came from a defensive player.

Kickoff team getting ready to play their role in the game (Bryson Taylor)

The Vipers moved the ball at will, going for over 300 yards passing as well as over 150 rushing, even with Defense giving the offense a short field. On top of that, they did not have their Offensive Coordinator, so all hands on deck did great. The team turned things around fast and got the ball moving.

For the Vipers, the stats were widely spread across the team as everyone contributed to the success. Jordan Hiller’s two short passes turned into big gains and were huge for the offense getting ramped up and down the field.

Overall, it was a major team effort that resulted in a major team win.

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