Delta delivers another shut-down effort on defense to improve to 4-0
By DOUG ZALESKI
If Delta middle linebacker Logan Drown decides to become a teacher, his students better be prepared to have their work scrutinized with a fine-tooth comb.
Drown is a key member of an Eagles defense that has shut out two opponents and allowed just one touchdown to each of the other two foes it has played. The latest clamp-down effort was delivered Friday night as Delta stopped arch-rival Yorktown 38-6 in front of a standing-room-only crowd on its home field.
Despite the early excellence through four games, Drown says he and his teammates are not satisfied or impressed with what they’ve done in stifling opponents.
“As a defense, we talk about wanting to be the best unit on the field,” Drown said. “We definitely have things to improve upon, so I’d give us a C-plus. I still don’t feel we’ve reached our potential, and we can do more each week to get better and sharpen the details.
“We’re doing our best to do something special.”
That included the game against Yorktown. The Tigers scored first on a 45-yard pass from Reid Neal to Walker Moore, who did a good job of eluding tacklers at the 20-yard line before racing into the end zone.
But Delta’s defense put the hammer down after that.
Drown recovered a Yorktown fumble at the Tigers’ 33-yard line, setting up a drive that ended with quarterback Brady Hunt sneaking into the end zone from a yard out. Hunt ran 5 yards for another TD a few minutes later to give the Eagles a 13-6 lead after the first quarter.
Class 4A No. 6 Delta (4-0, 2-0 Hoosier Heritage Conference) slammed the door on a Yorktown (2-2, 0-2 HHC) threat in the second period with a fourth-down stop at the 15-yard line.
“We emphasize so much in the weight room, and we talk so much about doing your job to the best of your ability and not being Superman,” Drown said. “We want to be something special this year on defense. We want to leave a legacy.”
Delta badgered the Yorktown offense throughout the game, preventing the Tigers from finding any rhythm.
Delta forced two turnovers. Spencer St. John picked off a pass in the fourth quarter in addition to Drown’s first-quarter fumble recovery. The Eagles had three sacks, led by Riley Woodin with two.
Cameron Levers forced a fumble, made six solo tackles and knocked down two passes.
“It’s not like they’re dominant physical specimens; they just win the 1-on-1 battles, which means they put some work in and get things done in the weight room,” Yorktown coach Mike Wilhelm said. “That was the deal tonight … and they’ve been doing that all year.”
Delta’s front seven kept Neal uncomfortable most of the game. Besides the three sacks, he was pushed out of the pocket numerous times. That was a huge emphasis in the game plan, according to Delta coach Chris Overholt.
“If you have an athlete like (Neal), and he sits back there on his mark or (bootlegs) out without pressure, he’s very good and very accurate,” he said. “He’s probably the most accurate quarterback that I’ve faced as a head coach the past four years. It was a big emphasis to get him moving to where we wanted him to go.”
Delta claimed a 21-6 lead at halftime as Wesley Stitt raced 80 yards for a touchdown with just 47 seconds left in the second period.
Wilhelm said that was one of four explosive plays that his team couldn’t overcome.
“The one at the end of the half was just a killer for us,” he said.
Delta added two touchdowns and a 44-yard field goal by Zac Stanley in the second half to put the game away. One of the TDs was a spectacular pass play as Hunt tossed an absolute dime into the end zone, where Levers laid out to make a highlight reel diving catch for a 31-yard score.
Levers was more eager to see Hunt’s throw on video than his catch on the play.
“That was a great ball,” he said. “No one could get it but me.”
After winning their first two games of the season, Yorktown has lost two in a row to start the Hoosier Heritage Conference. Wilhelm wasn’t pleased with the mood he saw on the Tigers’ sideline.
“I thought we went backward a little bit tonight, compared to even the New Pal (loss) last week,” Wilhelm said. “Some of the stuff that happened on our sideline, we saw some negative stuff that we hadn’t seen all year long.
“You start to see that stuff when you’re losing so we have to get that turned around and get a positive attitude going.”
Delta will play at Mount Vernon (3-1, 1-1 HHC) next Friday night. Yorktown plays at home against New Castle (2-2, 1-1 HHC) next Friday.