Defenses in football don't always have to get to the quarterback, but anytime they can force that opposing gunslinger into doing something faster or unexpected, the battle can be considered won.
This year, the Longmont Trojans are winning trench wars with might and fury.
With last week's incredible 10-sack performance against a Thompson Valley team that is a playoff qualifier, the Trojans pushed their season total in that department to 30.
That amount puts them in the top 15 as a team state-wide, among all classifications.
"Our guys up front our very physical, and they've all been mentally prepared for games all season, getting in their checks and running toward the ball," said head coach Doug Johnson, whose team is taking their marching orders this week in preparation of a Class 4A home playoff game against Pueblo South. "It's not just sacks; last week, we were able to shut down Thompson Valley's run game to allow us to be able to do different things in the pass rush."
In their 35-0 shutout of the Eagles which completed a 10-0 regular season, two LHS players (Austin Hassler and Nathan DeWitte) recorded three sacks apiece, and Jerred Snow had a pair of QB backfield takedowns.
Hassler and DeWitte are the top two sack masters on the team, but Hassler only has five and DeWitte four for the season. There are 10 others this year that have recorded a sack — a true display of depth.
"Coach (Brian) Arndt always has our stunt game prepared, so we bring linebackers and do a lot of variations of those stunts," Johnson said. "Coach (Curt) Collis subs in a lot of linemen to keep them all fresh, too, so between those two things we're getting productivity from a ton of kids. At the end of the game just as much as at the beginning."
When they take to Everly-Montgomery Field on Friday to battle the Colts — runners-up in the 4A South conference — they're going to see a team that drops back to pass about 15 times a game.
While sacks might not be the ultimate goal against a team like that, Johnson does have the confidence that his Trojans' ability to control the line of scrimmage, even dominate it as they have done all year, will help in their desire to stop the run game.
"They're going to run the ball really well because they're big up front," Johnson said. "We're going to have to get a lot of guys to the ball and make sure we can bring them down on first contact."
The Trojans (seeded second) and Colts (No. 15 seed) will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday night.