Prep football: Capital defense makes statement against GW
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Capital defensive coordinator Fred Myers has been patiently waiting for the Cougars' young defenders to put together a complete ballgame.
The Cougars defense was solid in their first seven games of the season, but had failed to put together a complete, four-quarter effort.
On Friday night, Myers' patience was finally rewarded as a strong defensive effort in the fourth quarter paved the way in Capital's 35-13 shellacking of cross-town rival George Washington at University of Charleston Stadium.
Capital dominated the line of scrimmage, tackled well in space and swarmed to the ball all night in limiting GW's normally lethal offense to just 246 yards on 64 offensive plays.
The Cougars' defense lit up the scoreboard when Rayqon Vanover picked off a screen pass and returned it 21 yards for a score that gave the Cougars a 28-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
"It's the best effort we've had all year," Myers said. "We played four quarters tonight. We lost three games that we felt we could have won but didn't because we just didn't get it done. We had leads and we just didn't hold them and get things done.
"Tonight we got it done. We grew up a little bit tonight. It's no excuse to have young kids, but tonight we grew up and played well as a team. We hadn't played together real well and tonight we finally did."
Senior defensive back Davon Tyson also praised the Cougars' team effort.
"We played as a team (Friday) and everybody just rushed to the ball," Tyson said. "Jaisson Dyer, Jonathan Pittman, James Walton, Edmond Harvey, Tyrell Davis, Khalil Bush ... just everybody did what we had to do.
"Everybody was at the ball at once. Nobody was just standing around watching. Once you saw one blue jersey, you saw two or three more."
That swarming mentality was vital to the Cougars' success as it helped limit Kennedy Award-winning running back Ryan Switzer to just 127 yards and no touchdowns.
"The key was to be able to tackle him in space," Myers said of Switzer. "He's the best back in the state, but we were able to do that tonight.
"We were able to cut the running seams down and force him to the outside, and it worked."
Strong defensive line play by the Cougars helped funnel Switzer laterally along the line of scrimmage and into waiting defenders.
Capital defenders held Switzer to two yards or less on 13 of his 28 carries.
"We really got after them," defensive line coach Mark Mason said. "We stayed in our rush lanes and just did what we were supposed to do. We got our assignments down most of the night. We had a couple letdowns early in the ballgame, but after that we settled down and just did what we needed to do.
"The kids came up big (Friday). They were in the right places at the right time and they made plays. We executed well tonight."
Capital Coach Jon Carpenter was also pleased with his team's defensive effort, but quickly credited his defensive staff's effort.
"I know it takes good defense to win games so that's why I put extra Coke bottles in Fred Myers' and Mark Mason's lockers every week," Carpenter said. "They do a great job with our defense. They really get after it and they've got some guys that are really talented, who have finally bought in to the system and those kids did a heck of a job.
"I know how important defense is, that's why I stay away from it so I don't screw it up. Those guys did a nice job."
Things won't get much easier for the Cougars in the next two weeks with a home game against Beckley (6-3) this Friday, before a road contest against Huntington (7-1) to close the regular season, but Capital will enter those contests with a newly found confidence.
"This game shows us what we're capable to doing," said Dyer, a junior defensive lineman. "If we can play like this tonight, why can't we play like that all the time?
"We're going to keep working to make sure we keep playing like we did tonight."