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Chaminade’s defense faces tough test in trying to slow down CBC offense

Chaminade_football2014photoAn offense that scores points like a hot pinball machine going to play against a defense that resembles a brick wall means something has to give.

That’s setting the scene for the 7 p.m. Metro Catholic Conference game Friday (Sept. 19) that finds the Chaminade Red Devils (3-1) taking a short bus ride to face the host CBC Cadets(4-0).

The Red Devils have been strong defensively this season. The squad takes pride in it’s ability to shut down the opposition.

“Our identity is defense,” said Chaminade coach Antoine Torrey. “They have a great offense and we have a great defense. So we’ll see.”

Chaminade has not fared too well in playing the Cadets recently. CBC has won eight of the last 10 meetings. Last year, the Cadets scored a 47-19 victory.

However, that was then. The youthful Red Devils this season are on a roll in the conference with a 2-0 record.

Chaminade defeated St. Louis University 13-6 last week. It was their second consecutive victory over the Junior Billikens. The Red Devils held SLUH to only one first down in the first half.

For the game, Chaminade held SLUH to six yards rushing and 92 passing for less than 100 yards of total offense. The Red Devils pressure resulted in recording six sacks.

Chaminade’s 35-0 victory against De Smet in Week 3 was its first against the Spartans since 2010. Chaminade was opportunistic against De Smet, scoring on an interception, a punt return and kickoff return while recording five sacks.

The Red Devils defense has allowed just 29 points this season.

“The boys are excited. I am excited,” Torrey said. “We’re a young team. We have a lot to improve on. We have to get better as the season goes along and I think we will.”

The team’s identity so far is its defense. The stingy crew is solid against the run and good against the pass.

“The defense is flying around making plays,” Torrey said. “The key to doing well in a season and in the postseason is defense. We’ve got speed. We can make plays.”

Four returning all-conference players are sparking the Red Devils. Senior linebakers Sam Frelich and Zach Wilhelm are the elder statesmen of the defensive unit. Juniors cornerback Rod Campbell and defensive tackle Brandon Haberstroh are valuable contributors as well.

“Sam has been great for us. Zach led us in tackles last year and he’s playing well,” Torrey said. “Rod is our highest recruited Division I player. Brendan had a freakish game last weeks with seven sacks.

“They are our leaders. We have a young team and they are directing us.”

Chaminade has just eight seniors on the roster. Torrey is starting 10 sophomores.

“We’re still developing,” Torrey said. “We’re focusing on the process. We’re learning. Our seniors have been great in helping the younger kids.”

The offense is playing well enough for the Red Devils to be successful. This unit is young. The starting five linemen all graduated.

“We’re starting three sophomores and we have a sophomore quarterback (Michael McGovern),” Torrey said. “We keep it simple offensively.”

The young squad faces a tough task in playing CBC, ranked No. 7 in the state in Class 6. Chaminade is a Class 5 school.

The Cadets mowed down Columbia Hickman 63-14, blanked Jefferson City 47-0, whipped Fort Zumwalt West 52-21 and shut out Vianney 56-0. In add, CBC has outscored its opponents 218-35.

“They can put up points,” Torrey said. “CBC is very well coached. They have talent. They have size. They have speed.

“Our goal will be to try and keep it a low-scoring game. We have an all-state punter in Sam Frelich. We want to play for good field position and pin them back if we can. We want to try and slow the game down. They have so much speed.”

Still, Torrey said he knows his Red Devils will have their hands full.

“It’s an extremely tough challenge,” Torrey said. “We signed up to play nine football games and this is one of them. We just hope to play the game our way and not their way.

“We have to be mistake free offensively. We will have to have a decent running game. Our defense will have to play well.”

The victor will likely emerge as the conference champion. That’s one of the goals this season for Chaminade.

“We have some goals. We’d like to be conference champions and go into the playoffs. We’re focusing on the progess. We have some long-term plans for the program.

“We have this game. We’re excited to have the opportunity to be on the same stage with CBC. We don’t take this game lightly.”

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