By Gary Lloyd
CLAY — Clay-Chalkville senior running back Terrelle West says he expects the defense to score more points this season.
No, not the offense, which scored the most points (540) in Alabama high school football last season. The defense.
West sees more speed on the defensive side of the ball. He sees a lot of ballhawks. He sees nine returning starters that he believes will score points via takeaways.
“We have a lot of experience on the field,” said senior defensive back Torrence Willis. “We know what to do. So when we get out there, we’ve just got to do it.”
Clay-Chalkville lost just defensive tackle Jalen Harvey and linebacker Stephen Sheffield from its 2013 starting lineup, which allowed 21 points per game a season ago.
Head coach Jerry Hood believes this year’s defense will be the best since his second year at Clay-Chalkville in 2010, when the Cougars allowed 20 points per game. He said last year’s defense was solid — it forced 17 turnovers — but bringing almost all contributors back takes it to another level.
“They naturally have more confidence, they have a greater understanding of the schemes and what we’re going to try to do,” Hood said. “Their approach is a little more professional because they’re older, they’re almost grown people now. Everything they do, they try to do it well.”
Clay-Chalkville is multiple on defense, but is in a 4-3 scheme the majority of the time. There are three defenders — defensive end Kendell Jones, defensive lineman LaDarius Harris and cornerback Kam Prewitt — with scholarship offers. Jones is verbally committed to Mississippi State, Harris to Southern Mississippi and Prewitt to Memphis. Harris has moved from linebacker to the defensive line, and Prewitt has moved from safety to cornerback.
Willis, Jalen Dawson and Izzy Bennett all return to the secondary as seniors. At linebacker, Ricky Samuel, Jarrod Reedus and Nick Battle will start. Battle is the only one who didn’t start last season.
Are there specific expectations of this defense? Not really, Hood said.
“Play a great play and try to play another one,” he said. “Just don’t do anything to get yourself beat.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.