Not only were the Warriors able to make significant gains on the ground, but their thunder and lightning running game caused the Panther defense to put five in the box, making them very vulnerable to throws over the top.
CCS employed a quarterback by committee effort, with Joby Bradshaw, Isaiah Brazeal and Landon Payne all making completions. As has been the usual the last few weeks, Bradshaw put up the biggest passing numbers, going 3-for-4 with 78 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Warriors played their best game yet. Horton said his defense mostly shut down the Panthers’ tight formation and that the bulk of the points and yards they allowed came on deep passes.
Spread teams have feasted on the CCS pass defense this year, and Horton said the way St. Jo receivers where able to get open downfield is still worrisome. But, Horton also said he is coming to accept that as a reality of the purple and black defense and make up for it in other facets of the game.
“We don’t have a ton of team quickness, so we’re going to give up points,” Horton said. “(But) if you want to beat us, you’ve got to beat us over the top. That’s a low percentage play when you throw the ball 30 yards down field. The big thing for us is to make sure we don’t lose offensive possessions. That was the big difference against North Central Texas (the Warriors last loss, 80-32). It’s tough to score points if you’re not on offense.”
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the St. Jo win is team confidence. The Warriors won a game not many expected them to by playing hard-nosed, physical football.
Now CCS has a chance to reach .500 for the first time this year against a Christian Life team that has posted a similar record to CCS against mostly inferior competition. It’s a game Horton fully expects to win.